SINGAPORE: In a competitive package holiday market, Virgin Holidays has managed to increase digital engagement rates and upsell by overhauling its digital customer experience, according to a top executive.

Saul Lopes, the lifecycle lead at Virgin Holiday, addressed this topic recently at Adobe Symposium Singapore, where he explained that “the only way we differentiate in this market space is looking at the end-to-end customer experience.

“How does that look like in retail? How does that move on to call centres? What’s the check-in process like at the airport?” (For more, read WARC’s report: How Virgin Holidays transformed its travel customer experience.)

The Virgin brand name carries a lot of reassurance for consumers, but the brand experience left room for improvement, he admitted: customers were receiving up to 35 pieces of disjointed and disparate communications after they had made a booking.

In addition, the communications had limited personalisation, were overly focused on trading, and lacked the quirky personality that the Virgin brand is well known for.

Last year saw Virgin Holidays introduce its Ready to Travel programme, which involved redesigning the entire post-purchase consumer journey with a two-pronged strategy of increasing anticipation and decreasing anxiety before the trip.

“We are streamlining the entire communications journey, so customers only receive relevant touchpoint content at key touchpoints,” Lopes said. And those communications have been rethought to bring in brighter visuals and a tone of voice that reflects the brand personality.

The business results look promising, he reported: a ten-fold increase in engagement rates compared to marketing emails and a 5% rise in pre-departure scores.

It has also generated US$4.2m (£3.3m) in incremental revenue across all destinations; upsell per booking has increased by 11% compared to customers not on the programme and customer self-service has increased by 7%.

“Most important are our employee engagement score at 90%,” Lopes added, noting that people within the organisation are often overlooked when it comes to business transformation.

Sourced from WARC