Whether you’re a frequent flyer or just passing through, when you’re in an airport, you’re interacting with an omni-channel marketing ecosystem that’s able to sense and react to you in near-real time.
Taking Heathrow airport as a practical example, interactions with known customers are hyper-relevant, tailored and timed to perfection. But even if the only thing Heathrow knows is that you’re using the free Wi-Fi, this ecosystem can still guide you towards a great experience.
The result is to deliver the best customer experience, no matter how anonymous visitors choose to be.
How Heathrow’s Customer Experience Ecosystem Works
Here’s what that ecosystem looks like in action:
Example 1: Anonymous airport visitor: ‘Person ID 9231’
Taking the example of an anonymous visitor who, say, has just logged in to airport WiFi in the executive lounge, the system would know that visitor is not a member of Heathrow’s Rewards programme and assign that device an anonymous ID – i.e. ‘ID 9231’
This way, even though that person is anonymous, the system can:
- Recognise how frequently that visitor is in the airport, and send semi-personalised communications, with offers based on how frequently they travel and which terminal they are in.
- Tailor offers based on location: if this anonymous user signs in from the lounge, the system may estimate that they have an hour to wait for their flight, and offer appropriate communications.
Example 2: Known airport visitor: ‘Rebecca Ward’
In the example of a known visitor; if the system recognises a member of the Heathrow Rewards programme (such as “Rebecca Ward’), there is more scope for personalised communication and engagement.
For example, with more user data, the system can:
- Recognise Rebecca’s car number plate at the car park barrier if she’s pre-booked her parking. As a result, the system can automatically let her into the car park.
- Send Rebecca a map to the terminal for her flight, on her arrival at the airport. Then, after waiting 15 minutes for Rebecca to get to the terminal; send personalised offers, to use that day, in restaurants and shops that she loves.
- If Rebecca uses these coupons, she can earn more Heathrow Rewards points – redeemable at World Duty Free.
Example 3: Recognised site visitor ‘Mr Ward’
In this example, a Heathrow Rewards member (Mr Ward) is browsing Heathrow.com, having clicked through from a Rewards newsletter.
In this case:
- The system knows most passengers visit the Heathrow.com website approximately two weeks prior to travel, so 13 days after Mr Ward’s visit he can be sent a personalised email with offers for a variety of airport outlets.
- Each offer will be personalised to Mr Ward’s preferences and purchase history
- As soon as Mr Ward arrives at the airport and crosses the geo-fence, the Heathrow system can recognise him in real-time and send him a map to his gate.
- After his trip, Mr Ward will receive a survey about his experience. These answers go on to inform Heathrow’s customer satisfaction score.
In each of these examples, the challenge is twofold:
- One, the airport must help customers transit to their terminal, lounge and gate as easily as possible
- Two, the airport must provide a customer experience so engaging that customers are lead to make a purchase or two.
This requires the synchronisation of a lot of technology; but, for those who get it right, it’s possible to create a seamless customer experience – which delivers great results – at scale.