United Airlines has greatly expanded its online presence with the launch this week of customized versions of its Web site in the 26 countries the carrier serves throughout the world. Each country site can be reached at www.united.com/worldwide.
Along with its new 26 international Web sites, United has also taken off with a fully-localized Web site for Germany, which can be found at www.unitedairlines.de.
The country specific Web pages were developed by United NetWorks, a division of United NewVentures, a wholly-owned subsidiary of UAL Corporation. United NetWorks is responsible for all strategy, operations, planning and support of United`s Web site, e-commerce applications and wireless initiatives.
The German Web site uses the technology platform found in the industry`s first fully-localized Japanese Web site, which United NetWorks designed for its customers in Japan, www.unitedairlines.co.jp. This site, with its functionality and content in both Japanese language and currency, has been running for eight months.
The German booking engine has both local language and currency, which adds a very high degree of relevancy for customers in the marketplace. “As a worldwide carrier, it is imperative that we cater to travelers in each `local` e-commerce marketplace,” said Adam Levy, director of international e-commerce for United NetWorks.
“We conducted focus groups in our largest international markets to aid in building these sites,” Levy added. “We listened to the needs and desires of our global customers. The feedback was very beneficial in designing price offerings, online booking bonuses, convenient shopping tools and other value-added features-all of which were of paramount importance to our customers.”
United`s international Web sites give global customers the ability to:
—View ticket prices and purchase travel in local currency. Travelers can have their tickets priced and book travel in the local currency on any United Airlines, United Shuttle or United Express operated flight.
—Register for United`s EasyAccess Proactive Paging Service. Travelers who register for this benefit will be sent their flight status directly back to their phone which includes confirmation that their flight is on time, information on what gate it will be departing from, as well as notification if a flight is delayed or cancelled.
—Get real-time Mileage Plus summary information. Travelers who are members of United`s Mileage Plus program can access real-time account updates and view two years of account history
—Book travel-planning reservations. Travelers can book reservations with over 30,000 hotels and 45 car rental companies.
In addition to the travel shopping and travel information available on the international Web sites, United is offering its customers access to information and services via wireless devices.
“As the wireless markets around the globe evolve, we`re participating in the very exciting opportunities to serve our customers anytime anywhere,” Levy said. United offers its Proactive Paging Service worldwide to any e-mail addressable device, as well as to the very popular SMS platform in the U.K. Additionally United recently introduced a suite of enhanced wireless services for I-Mode subscribers in Japan.