Flying sparks a multitude of feelings from fear to thrilled depending on the passenger. Yet one of the most frustrating parts of flying that is shared by many is that the whole experience often feels impersonal.
Feeling valued by airliners in today’s world includes making the travel experience a lot more personal. And among the airliners that are truly piloting personalized journeys is Virgin Atlantic, which has helped increase its marketing channel visibility by 70%. And in addition, it achieved 50% of its acquisition target in its first fully integrated campaign.
In order to achieve this, Virgin Atlantic took in a suite of Adobe products that range from Target, Analytics, and Campaign to Customer Solutions, Audience Manager, and Experience Manager.
Integrating the broad Adobe package, Virgin Atlantic was eager to tackle a few issues, which included:
- The inability to integrate customer data and automate it.
- Unable to break up silos.
- Couldn’t provide consistent end-to-end customer experiences.
- Limited in broadening its personalization capabilities across multiple platforms.
“To make sure we’re staying on top of changes in digital technology,” said Neil Letchford, head of digital at Virgin Atlantic. “We have to make sure we’re providing the right touchpoints for our customers. We’re working with Adobe to solve those questions.”
The question of personalization hit Neil after one particular experience on a flight with other passengers. “I immediately turned on that brand ambassador role. I knew the type of aircraft they were flying on, the 747. I could talk to them about the experience they were going to have.”
To be “red on the outside” for Virgin Atlantic means ensuring that passengers can experience the level of quality they expect – whether that be on their website, in-person once they’re in the airport, and even when they’re 40,000 feet in the air.
But to do this, they needed to strengthen their digital strategy. And the ambition was high: “We want to build that experience across the entire user journey,” said Neil. “We want to build ourselves fully end-to-end and become the most-loved travel company.”
So what does it look like to provide personalization to airline passengers? Starting at step one, “Our ultimate goal is that everyone sees a unique homepage that no one else would see,” said Steve Radford, its digital operations manager. “Making our customers feel unique and valued. That’s what’s going to make us stand out as a brand. That’s the Virgin Atlantic way.” It also means that once you’re seated you’ll get your favorite drink – no bell-ringing or button-pushing necessary. It means Virgin recognizes customers that have flown with them before so that they can build loyalty with customer membership bands.
“We needed that Adobe flail,” said Steven, “to improve, to enhance, to make things better, and to allow us to move at the speed we want to move.”
The Adobe package
When it came to optimizing its offers it plugged in Adobe Target. “There’s a library of knowledge at Adobe we’ve been able to tap into. We’ve been able to target customers that we wouldn’t usually be able to in a specific way,” said Dan Rolmanis, its optimization manager. This means, for example, a customer who is a Red Flight Club member who has shown interest in California will be given travel info specifically for California.
For marketing campaigns, they combined Adobe Target with Adobe Campaign to drive a higher level of personalization. It has meant that a customer who flies in 2 months will get a reminder; in 24 hours will receive information on their flight status and terminal. And through these updates they can upgrade on a number of areas like their meal and seat area.
To develop campaigns, Virgin Atlantic uses Adobe Audience Manager to test, test, test and gain data for producing reports. “The other day someone asked me,” said Dan, “how did that test perform? Because I’m just about to do a design on this page, and I need to know how it performed in Adobe Target first. It’s those little milestones that are as good as any kind of data that we can get out of the test: it’s people saying that they’re using our reporting.”
And Adobe Experience Manager is used to roll out all of the airliner’s content wherever it is found from its website and phone to laptop, email, and campaigns.
With the integration of the whole Adobe ecosystem, “We engaged heavily with the Adobe Customer Solutions team to help us achieve that goal and connectivity,” said Steven. “We knew it was possible, we just didn’t know the buttons and levers we needed to pull to make that happen.”
Integrating the Adobe ecosystem also gave Virgin Atlantic fresh holistic insights. They now have a view of the entire cycle of the customer journey. They can track engagement and deliver the most relevant message to each of their customers at the most appropriate time.
“To make sure we’re staying on top of changes in digital technology,” said Neil, “we have to make sure we’re providing the right touchpoints for our customers. We’re working with Adobe to solve those questions.”
From their implementation of the Adobe suite, they have seen a number of interesting results come in:
- They can deliver personalized campaigns across multiple stages of the customer journey.
- A 70% boost in its marketing channel visibility.
- They are able to build its brand loyalty.
- Managed to achieve 50% in its acquisition target in its first integrated campaign.
- Now capable of carrying out asset testing and making use of test performance data.