In a breakout session at Sitecore Symposium 2021, Jetstar Airways’ Ben Hoefel, Senior Manager, Digital Sales & Service, sat down with Sitecore CPO Dave O’ Flanagan and Sitecore Senior Vice President Jon Williams to discuss how Sitecore technology helps deliver exceptional customer experiences at the airline.

Partners right out of the gate

Jetstar Airways, a subsidiary of Qantas Airlines, is one of the largest low-cost airlines in the Asia Pacific region. They began using Sitecore Experience Manager over 10 years ago when Jetstar needed to build an enterprise-based website that would match the brand’s growing ambitions and support a multilingual presence in the Asian market.

Happily, the Australian carrier is also well acquainted with Sitecore’s newly acquired CDP, having trusted Boxever’s customer data platform to drive its personalization strategy since 2014.

Path to personalization

Jetstar Airways’ personalization journey began in the mid-2010s when an influx of online travel agents entered the Australian market. To beat the competition, the airline needed to strengthen its brand presence and drive traffic directly to in a cost-effective way.

Ben Hoefel says, “Given that we couldn’t go and spend as much on the above-the-line classical marketing that we were seeing the OTAs doing, we thought of ways in which we could better engage with our customers, particularly in upper funnel exercises, so (we focused on) marketing and sales through our booking flow – or commerce engine.”

Boxever CDP’s ability to join data, build out decision processes, and execute these processes across any channel was a key selling point for the airline.

As Boxever had an ambitious vision for the airline industry and Jetstar Airways was eager to embrace personalization technology across multiple channels including email and customer service, it was a true meeting of minds in 2014-15 when Boxever and Jetstar teamed up to work on key strategic roadmap items. Since then, the partnership has gone from strength to strength, solidified further by Boxever’s recent acquisition by Sitecore.

Driving conversions and increasing revenue with the Sitecore CDP

CDP technology has been instrumental in driving conversions and increasing revenue at Jetstar Airways. For organizations looking to replicate the airline’s success and improve their brand’s omnichannel customer experience, Ben recommends the following optimizations:

  • Tag key events on site to run basic triggers and connect web and email – identifying an abandoned cart and sending the customer a follow-up email
  • Aggregate data and use it to create urgency messaging that displays how many people are viewing a flight or product
  • Set up the recent search function – this makes it more convenient for customers to get back into the funnel and pick up where they left off

To boost ancillary revenue, Jetstar Airways leverages Sitecore CDP’s advanced decisioning technology. Through segmented use cases, specific customers are served examples of next best ancillary products such as checked baggage and seat selection, based on look-alike customers.

Meanwhile, the airline works with the CDP’s machine learning and advanced AI data to determine the propensity for known customers to book a particular destination. Data is fed through the CDP into email marketing and the site when customers visit and there is also the option to serve other offers based on a customer’s behavior, for example a business class upgrade whenever there is capacity.

Test-first approach

Jetstar Airways has always followed a test-first approach to experience optimization. This means setting up a design sprint – a cross-functional workshop that includes product teams, marketing teams, the customer team (if it’s a service-based initiative) and their digital development and design teams. By framing a customer or business problem, the team can work on developing hypotheses to solve the problem. Possible solutions are tested before they are committed to the codebase – according to Ben, it’s a proven strategy for the airline. These days they run around 40 optimization tests per week.

“As you’re trying to build buy-in from other stakeholders, you’ve got empirical data that proves why it works,” Hoefel said.

The approach has impressed Dave O’ Flanagan since day one.

“The test-first approach … Jetstar is one of the first customers that we had seen do that – it’s our recommended approach now.”

Personalized app experiences

Jetstar Airways’ app is near its launch and will focus on providing inspirational travel content that is relevant and personalized for each traveler. The airline also wants to make the search experience more interactive and intuitive and will focus on providing useful information about fares, dates, and destinations through personalized triggered messaging.

The overall vision is to bring the worlds of content and commerce together to reduce the traveler’s anxiety while increasing their anticipation. And when travel plans go awry and the airline needs to communicate important updates such as flight delays or cancelations, they want to make sure the customer feels informed, in control, and that Jetstar Airways has got their back.

Onwards and upwards

Hoefel says Sitecore’s acquisition of Boxever has led to a more seamless process across the airline’s personalization and decisioning activities.

“As the CDP and Content Hub come together, it makes it easier to surface the right content as we’re building out decisions.”

In the near future, Jetstar Airways is also planning to embrace headless architecture for greater flexibility and to better utilize the airline’s limited developer resources. By switching focus to building experiences and applications that deliver rather than focusing on the infrastructure that delivers these experiences, the airline aims to get further faster.

With these smoother processes and new and innovative customer experiences on the horizon, it certainly looks like the only way is up for the airline and its customers.

Sitecore’s best-of-breed CDP and expert support is ready and waiting to take your organization to the next level. To get started, read more about the game-changing capabilities of Sitecore CDP or visit the Knowledge Center.

Fiona Hilliard is a Content Marketing Manager at Sitecore. Connect with her on LinkedIn