I have just finished booking a trip with Lufthansa for the first time, and have to say their online booking system is really great. For a first time user, it was pretty easy to navigate and understand. Two things stood out for me as innovations that might give you inspiration for your own online operations.
 Make me an offer
After I booked the ticket, I was invited to make them an offer to upgrade my seat/cabin. A little slider showed a range of options from $0/no offer, to about $600. Pick the price you want, you are bidding against other passengers. An interesting approach. So naturally I put in a low-ball bid, the lowest dollar range permitted, which is likely what most will do. I really think it is an interesting use of the online auction approach that has become familiar from other e-commerce sites.
 Instant membership card
This seems so dead simple now that I see it, that I wonder why more organizations don't do this. Join their membership program and they instantly produce a printable PDF with your name and card number. Honestly, this simple little step was a delight, and I did indeed print it out, cut it out, and stuffed it into my passport wallet. It's like I'm already part of the family, not just with a number, but with the card too. A little reward for signing up. Yes, they still plan to mail me a plastic.
So the age of the plastic card is coming to a close, most likely, but I still thought this was a very customer-friendly innovation.
How can you offer your own customers similar ideas?
- Can you let them make you an offer on a superior product, especially if it is in limited supply?
- Can you produce something instantly instead of making people wait?
- How can you provide the tiniest rewards at each step of the way -- psychological rewards that mark progress
- Is your online process simple for first time users, even if they are used to a different system somewhere else?
I would have thought that online travel had pretty much matured, and it has. But there is still room for innovation. What tiny innovations -- in travel or elsewhere --have you noticed that are making a difference?