Travel pioneer taking off with personalization

Thomas Cook Airlines making customer centricity a top priority

6.7 million passengers per year

60 destinations

2,500 employees

Top airline Customer Service of the Year Awards 2016

Introduction

 

Customer expectations in the digital world have disrupted every industry. For Thomas Cook Airlines this is no different. With 93% of their travellers either searching for content online, or expressing a preference for booking online, the digital transformation the business has undergone over the past 10 years has been dramatic.

A Qubit customer since 2014, the company is now making persuasive personalization a key strategy for creating compelling online customer experiences, and ensuring visitors keep returning to their site to book flights.

As is the case for most airlines, ancillaries are a core focus for Thomas Cook Airlines. Placing this objective at the heart of their digital strategy has enabled Thomas Cook Airlines to lead the charge in developing a personalized and relevant approach to ancillary sales.

Ancillary social proof by route

Undirected, blanket experiences aimed at boosting ancillary sales of products like insurance, extra baggage, and on-board meals, were elements of the booking journey Thomas Cook Airlines wanted to make more intelligent.

Using Qubit’s social proof enabled Thomas Cook Airlines to increase urgency, and as a result conversions, throughout the booking process by surfacing experiences showcasing either popularity and / or scarcity.

An example of this is social proof messaging based on route a particular customer was taking. For example, it could be that customers booking flights for ski destinations are buying insurance, whereas customers on longer-haul flights buy meals for the plane.

Using social proof, and the automation provided by Qubit’s machine learning capabilities, Thomas Cook Airlines are able to be more persuasive and display what other customers on that route are purchasing.

1.6% increase in purchases

 

"Innovation has shaped Thomas Cook Airlines' history, and it will continue to shape our future. Qubit is the personalization platform who we’ve known and trusted for a long-time and we’re incredibly excited to be achieving greater degrees of scale and persuasion alongside them.”

Jim Copas

Optimization Manager

Functional vs. visual extras page

Using the Qubit Platform combined with the strategic expertise of the Qubit team, Thomas Cook Airlines identified that focusing ancillary pages on function, rather than imagery, would have a positive impact on sales. Meanwhile, their existing ancillary promotions used banners that were image-focussed and therefore could be mistaken for advertisements.

Using collected data and observed trends, the team could strike the balance between design and function, ultimately boosting ancillary sales - producing a 2.0% uplift in revenue per converter.

Targeted seat inventory based on geography

Thomas Cook Airlines’ trading teams wanted to increase the scope of the routes they could promote by moving away from a “one-size-fits-all” approach to merchandising. Leveraging Thomas Cook Airlines live pricing API, Qubit enabled the trading teams to promote at-risk inventory from specific airports tailored to the visitor’s closest airport. Without this geo-targeting, the company had to surface generic offers to all website visitors.

For this experience, Thomas Cook Airlines wanted to surface persuasive messaging as means to increase conversion rate. Hooking up to their API meant Qubit was able to identify flights departing soon, that still had seat availability, and that were close to the visitors geographical location. A deal experience was then targeted to visitors from that location giving them the option to purchase flights on that route.

This targeted route promotion has given the trading team more flexibility, automated a manual task, and consequently driven an uplift of 1.8% in RPC.

"The Qubit team consistently come to us with approaches that combine data and industry best practice. Being able to scale, and have the flexibility of a technology like the Qubit Customer Influence Engine is a weapon in our arsenal that we couldn’t do without"

Jim Copas

Optimization Manager

Leading the way with Live Tap

Unlocking customer and visitor data with Qubit Live Tap has enabled the Thomas Cook Airlines analytics team to become more effective than ever thanks to improved access to information. Live Tap enables Thomas Cook Airlines to understand the profitability of personalizations they run in granular detail, breaking down the results by destination, ancillary and haul-type purchased.

Being able to make data-driven business decisions has led to changes in strategy and experience creation. The company can access data on-demand, and move quickly when it comes to iterating existing personalizations or building new ones.

 

 

"We need to create online experiences that surprise and delight. We’re grounded in the validation that Qubit has delivered in the last number of years, now is the time to build on that and take our personalization strategies to the next level."

Darran Brindley

Head of Digital Product

Looking ahead

 

The partnership with Qubit is always aligned around Thomas Cook Airlines' objectives, combining industry best-practice and the latest personalizations that are going to have the biggest impact.

Planned future experiences include highlighting a cut-off time to add further ancillaries to your booking after purchasing a flight. Urgency messaging, targeted at specific customer segments will have an impact throughout the time between booking and flying by taking ancillaries out of the original booking process and transforming them into small added extras.

These, and other new experiences are grounded in a deep understanding of the customer thanks to Live Tap. This enables Thomas Cook Airlines to identify opportunities, influence customer journeys, and ultimately increase loyalty and bottom line.

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