Business Challenge

A North American airline wanted to extend its thoughtful customer service, especially during flight cancellations or delays, by sending customers personalized, rules-generated emails or text messages.

Transformation

The airline wanted to keep passengers up to date on all facets of their flights. But notifying them one by one wouldn’t be practical for the growing airline. With an automated notification system based on integrated IBM software, the airline can now not only notify passengers, but also gain insights into their needs.

Results

Improved

overall travel experience

Increased

passenger traffic by 7.8%

Achieved

a 60% clickthrough rate on messages

Business Challenge Story

Going the Extra Mile 

One of the airline’s main focuses is to provide an exceptional guest experience. The company goes the extra mile to promote a stress-free experience, and they wanted to be sure that their technology choices enabled them to provide this.

Not only have we caught up, but we're actually surpassing what our competitors do," the guest experience advisor said. "It's a differentiator."

— Guest experience advisor, a North American airline

Transformation Story

Keeping a Personal Touch

The airline used IBM MQ to implement a notification system that contacts guests via a preferred channel such as email, voicemail or text. It can send a flight reminder three days ahead of departure, offer the opportunity to check in online and give the customer immediate notification of pertinent information, including flight cancellations or delays, gate changes and the amenities available on the aircraft.

 

The system was designed to help the airline grow, while retaining the personal touch that guests love.

 

“IBM helped lay the foundation,” said the technical advisor. The technical architect added: “I honestly feel that IBM is a partner. They are as invested in our success as we are.”

 

The key to the notification system was the IBM MQ software, which enables seamless interactions between various information resources. For example, a gate change triggers a message stored on IBM MQ, the messaging backbone. The message is then run through the rules engine in IBM Operational Decision Manager, and IBM App Connect provides an orchestration layer between multiple systems, including identity databases.

 

From there, IBM Tivoli Directory Integrator looks up the preferences of each guest, and IBM DataPower helps secure, centralize and optimize access to internal and external web, mobile and API workloads to make the system work. “Complex orchestration is taking place,” the technical advisor explained, “and the end result is an enriched guest experience.”

We gain a competitive edge from integrating technology. We can drive more meaningful interactions.

— Senior Technical Architect, a North American airline

Results Story

Better Experiences for Customers and Employees

One of the most obvious benefits comes when passengers experience changes that can be stressful. “Guests like to get notifications as early as possible and have the opportunity to take their own measures,” noted a guest experience advisor for the airline. “Flight crews also love the system because it saves them from having to repeatedly answer the same question and lets them focus on making guests feel welcome and well cared for.”

 

Notifications must be generated quickly. An event might trigger between 10 and 390 rules, depending on whether a flight has multiple legs. “We’ve seen a complete flight, with 174 passengers, process in about 100 milliseconds,” said a technical analyst at the airline. “The end-to-end notification process can take up to a minute.”

 

When rules need to be changed, the system is flexible. “If we need to create a rule to satisfy an event that is occurring, we can do that in real-time without taking an outage,” said the analyst. “That’s a huge benefit.”

 

It’s not just the airline analysts who were fans – passengers loved the notification system. “In the past five months, we’ve sent out two to three million different notifications,” the technical analyst said. “Just 0.5% of guests have opted out, and more than 60% are actually clicking links within the notifications to get more information. Guests are tweeting about how much they appreciate the system.”

 

After implementing this system, passenger traffic went up 7.8% compared to the previous year. “Not only have we caught up, but we’re actually surpassing what our competitors do,” the guest experience advisor said. “It’s a differentiator.”

 

Enabling more insightful interactions, the team plans to expand the service to include personalized links and offers, such as discounts tailored to a guest’s preferences if a flight must be cancelled. “We gain a competitive edge from integrating technology,” said the airline’s senior technical architect. “We have a picture of each guest in real time—the things they like and don’t like, along with their purchase patterns. We can drive more meaningful interactions based on their preferences.”

Guests are tweeting about how much they appreciate the system.

— Technical Analyst, a North American airline

About North American airline

Promising a high level of service at a low cost, this North American airline launched its service in 1996 with just three planes. Now, it flies more than 100 planes, carrying 50,000 guests a day on more than 450 flights to 85 destinations throughout North America, Central America and the Caribbean.

Take the next step

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