Online retailer Lastminute.com is to offer its airline customers the chance to offset their carbon emissions as part of the booking process, claiming a first for a major travel company.
From November 27 customers will be asked whether they want to pay an additional charge to global warming organisation Climate Care as the point of payment in the booking process.
The system will automatically estimate the CO2 emissions of the flight being bought and calculate how much the customer should donate to Climate Care, which invests the money in environmental projects around the globe.
Lastminute.com chief executive Ian McCaig insisted this week the initiative was not a knee-jerk reaction to what is turning out to be 2006’s hot yet highly controversial topic.
McCaig admitted that the company was unsure as to how the initiative would be received by consumers.
The initiative will “inform travellers about the impact of flying on the environment and empower them to positively participate in addressing climate-change issues”, he added.
“With hundreds of airline partners offering thousands of flights, our initiative marks one of the biggest leaps for the industry.
“As the first major travel company to take this action, lastminute.com is urging others in the industry to follow suit in a bid to reduce the impact of aviation emissions and play an active part in combating climate change.”
Climate Care founder Mike Mason said: “I am delighted that Lastminute.com has taken such a pioneering and responsible approach to climate change.
“They are not only offering customers the chance to offset their emissions but they are also taking a real lead in educating customers and making them look actively at their choices.”
Meanwhile, Lastminute.com has introduced a behavioural targeting system so offers and the creative elements of the website can be tailored to individual users.
The Touch Clarity system analyses variables such as time, day, referring URL, search criteria, on-site clicks, and frequency of visits.
Lastminute.com carried out a pilot scheme during the summer of 2006 and has claimed some products saw an increase in sales of more than 200%.
Lastminute.com director of personalisation, Marko Malabanovic, said: “As we learn more about our customers we can increasingly improve out service to them.
“The roll-out of Touch Clarity makes the site more relevant for each visitor, thereby engaging them on-site for longer and increasing conversion.”