Virgin Atlantic are renowned for delivering the ultimate in airline customer experience; customers choose Virgin Atlantic because they want their journey to be special.
Whilst you might think that journey starts when a customer arrives at the airport, it actually begins much earlier. Delivering a great customer journey means providing a fantastic experience from the moment someone finds their way to the Virgin Atlantic website.
Booking abandonment is a huge challenge for the airline industry; with over 80% of visitors leaving a site without completing their reservation. For companies like Virgin Atlantic, with millions of website visitors every month, this equates to a massive amount of potential revenue left on the table.
Unsurprisingly, the most common reason for abandonment is consumers who are ‘not yet ready’ to book and are still in the ‘just looking’ process. Consumers often use the basket page as a way of creating ‘wish lists’ and building up an idea of what their dream holiday would be.
The challenge for Virgin Atlantic was to ensure that they engaged their browsers with the right message, at the right time to try and reduce booking abandonment and increase the number of bookings. In addition to recovering lost bookings, one of the main objectives of Virgin Atlantic’s remarketing program was to focus on upselling customers to an upgraded travel class.
Virgin Atlantic embraced SaleCycle’s behavioural marketing technology to engage their customers before they abandoned their booking and reconnect with them once they had left the website.
With on-site remarketing, Virgin Atlantic can speak to their website visitors at exactly the right moment. Whether they go to exit the page or appear disengaged or lost, Virgin can provide their visitors with the perfect message to continue their booking.
Using email remarketing, Virgin Atlantic can reconnect with their visitors who began to book a flight but left the site without completing the booking. Using SaleCycle’s dynamic customer segmentation, Virgin Atlantic are also able to tailor their email messaging to try and upsell economy flight viewers to premium economy.
SaleCycle’s email remarketing enables Virgin Atlantic to tempt back customers who’ve abandoned the site. Making it as simple as possible for them to return and complete their booking. Virgin Atlantic have set up a multi-cycle email campaign to target 'abandoners' after one hour, and again after one day to ensure they reconnect at just the right time.
While the success of the email remarketing campaign was fairly immediate, SaleCycle identified a huge proportion of visitors (some 96%) who abandoned a booking without leaving an email address.
Acting on the opportunity at hand, Virgin Atlantic rolled out an on-site remarketing campaign to reconnect with visitors who abandoned earlier in the booking process. Visitors who are not ready to book also have the option to request a handy email, complete with their travel details, allowing them to return later.
The on-site remarketing aspect of the campaign has quickly become an integral part of the customer journey – engaging customers before they leave the website and enabling Virgin Atlantic to send over 45,000 additional remarketing emails per year. The emails themselves have been remarkably effective.
While an open rate of 59% is a great indicator of email engagement, the really eye-opening stat is the $29 revenue that is generated from every single remarketing email Virgin Atlantic sends. The program is a great example of the power of a timely and helpful message, reminding visitors why they came to the site in the first place.
SaleCycle’s CEO and Founder, Dominic Edmunds, said “The campaign is a great example of combining cutting-edge technology and world class creative to improve the customer journey - something Virgin Atlantic are world renowned for consistently getting right.
"By displaying the right message to the right person at the right time, we're proud to be helping Virgin Atlantic deliver a first class experience from the moment a customer starts their booking online."