Personal experiences for 78 million travellers.

Heathrow Airport engages customers with relevant, targeted offers that increase revenue, using Adobe Experience Cloud.

Company Logo

Established

1929


Employees: 76,000
London, United Kingdom
www.heathrow.com

Partner
Acxiom
www.acxiom.com

60%

higher average spend per customer with targeted offers

Objectives

Raise revenue by promoting products and services before, during and after travel

Engage 78 million customers with more personalised, one-on-one service

Deliver an integrated, end-to-end experience with customers over web, mobile and in-airport platforms

Results

60% higher average spend per customer with targeted offers

25% email click-through rates while improving email open rates

Automatically personalises home page with machine learning

Delivers more personal experiences for 78M travellers


“Adobe is constantly setting the bar higher for analytics and personalisation success. With Adobe Experience Cloud, we can do more to orchestrate better experiences for tens of millions of customers.”

 

Stuart Irvine
Analytics and Optimisation Lead, Heathrow Airport


Embarking on a new journey

Every day, more than a thousand aircraft take off or land at London Heathrow Airport. In 2017, Heathrow hosted its busiest year on record with 78 million passengers passing through its gates on the way to and from 185 cities.

Part of Heathrow’s success comes from its continual investment in infrastructure, services, retail spaces and technologies that make flying to and from Heathrow more enjoyable for travellers and airlines alike. Today these investments include many new digital initiatives aimed at connecting with passengers before, during and after their time at the airport.

Heathrow offers much more than just a place to begin and end a trip. It has more than 300 retail shops, restaurants, lounges, meeting rooms and children’s play areas to help passengers enjoy their time at the airport.

“Today, more retail consumers are turning to ‘webrooming’ where they browse products online and make the final purchase in a shop,” says Stuart Irvine, Analytics and Optimisation Lead at Heathrow Airport. “As part of an airport, we’re in a unique position to meet these consumer needs with exclusive deals and high convenience for people who want to pick up something special before they get on a plane. If we want to encourage shoppers at Heathrow, we need to start reaching them while they’re browsing—before they even come to the airport. But with millions of people passing through Heathrow, it can be difficult to know what information will be beneficial to which customers.”

Heathrow interacts with customers across numerous touchpoints. Customers visit Heathrow’s eight consumer-facing websites to check flight information, book a seat on the Heathrow Express or reserve parking, for example. Customers receive email newsletters as part of the Heathrow Rewards loyalty programme or download the mobile app to have access to vital travel information at their fingertips.

At the same time, new digital initiatives bring even more interactivity to apps every day, from “Blue Dot” wayfinding that guides passengers directly to their gates, to augmented reality (AR) that lets children enjoy interactive games and take pictures with cartoon characters while waiting for flights to board. With geolocation targeting, Heathrow even has opportunities to push relevant offers, such as duty-free or other promotions, to travellers as they pass the shops. Using iBeacons spread throughout the airport, contextual notifications based on location are sent to travellers’ Bluetooth enabled smartphones.

Reaching the right customers

Heathrow has a database of 30 million contacts across channels but trying to pull all of this information together into a single view of a customer can be challenging. Working with Adobe partner Acxiom, Heathrow is creating a unified view of customers across channels by using integrated solutions within Adobe Experience Cloud.

The Adobe Analytics and Adobe Audience Manager solutions in Adobe Analytics Cloud pull together data from across mobile, websites and other channels to give insight into digital engagement and build detailed customer profiles. That data feeds into Adobe Campaign and Adobe Target solutions within Adobe Marketing Cloud to support multichannel campaign management, testing and personalisation.

“Adobe Experience Cloud helps us to achieve our goals to deliver an end-to-end digital experience that focuses on each customer’s interests,” says Irvine. “We’ve raised the average spend per customer by 60% because we’re better able to reach people with personalised deals and relevant experiences.”


“Adobe Experience Cloud helps us to achieve our goals to deliver an end-to-end digital experience that focuses on each customer’s interest. We’ve raised the average spend per customer by 60% because we’re better able to reach people with personalised deals and relevant experiences.”

 

Stuart Irvine
Analytics and Optimisation Lead, Heathrow Airport


 

360-degree view of customers

Adobe Analytics is the backbone of Heathrow’s digital experience. Analytics brings together data with a consistent Adobe ID that helps map consumers as they move across web, mobile, email and other channels. This data helps Heathrow build a 360-degree view of how customers respond to digital campaigns and experiences. The Data Workbench capability in Adobe Analytics allows for even greater insight into both online and off-line activities to improve cross-sale opportunities and even predict future performance so that Heathrow can continue to push changes that increase revenue.

This real-time analytic data, along with subscriber and third-party data, feeds into Adobe Audience Manager to create a unified user profile for each customer. Audience Manager manages millions of profiles and creates valuable segments for targeting and personalisation as people move across digital channels and even through the airport.

“Adobe Audience Manager is a game-changer that allows us to bring together all of our data and create a unified experience for our customers no matter how or where they engage with us,” says Irvine. “We’ve just started our journey with Audience Manager, but we’re expecting that it will drive personalisation and contextual experiences at every touchpoint with customers, from websites to mobile to digital displays in the airport.”

For example, Heathrow has long promoted “reserve and collect” shopping, which allows shoppers to reserve products ahead of time and simply pick them up at the airport. Heathrow expanded this programme into Heathrow Boutique, which is a full-fledged e-commerce marketplace for Heathrow retailers. When customers browse for handbags or technology in Heathrow Boutique, those preferences are stored as traits in Audience Manager.

If a customer continues to one of Heathrow’s other web properties, Audience Manager feeds that information into the website so that customers see offers for products and services that interest them. This provides Heathrow with more opportunities to deliver relevant experiences that increase revenue.

Delivering valuable information through email

Email is a key driver for revenue growth at Heathrow. But as consumers become overwhelmed by marketing emails, it becomes harder for any business to stand out. Rather than flooding inboxes with general promotional emails, Heathrow uses Adobe Campaign to deliver 130 carefully targeted email campaigns for a total of 6 million email messages a month.

Some emails are triggered by specific actions. For example, if a customer signs on to the Heathrow Airport Wi-Fi network, Adobe Campaign sends an email filled with relevant information about shops, restaurants and services available in the terminal where the user signed in. This can inspire customers to drop by a nearby store and spend time browsing while they wait for their flights.

Adobe Campaign also personalises the look of newsletters delivered to members of Heathrow’s Rewards scheme. While the average retail spend per customer is £8, the average Rewards member flies through Heathrow at least five times a year and spends an average of £140. This makes nurturing relationships with Rewards members a key element of revenue growth.

Adobe Campaign pulls customer data from Adobe Audience Manager to identify the offers that will most resonate with customers and personalises newsletters for different audiences. Some customers may receive news about a new luxury watch, while others may get an offer for a massage. By connecting key audiences with relevant offers, Heathrow can encourage greater engagement and revenue growth with its Rewards members.

“Adobe Campaign allows us to personalise emails to get the right offers to customers,” says Irvine. “We’re delivering messages that pique our customers’ interests and makes them want to learn more, which has helped us to improve open rates and achieve click-through rates as high as 25%.”

Personalisation through machine learning

Trying to optimise customer experiences across eight web properties could be a real challenge without the support of intelligent digital tools, particularly with Heathrow’s lean analytics team. Using Adobe Target, Heathrow manages 70 different tests across its websites. These tests can range from optimising forms to reduce errors, to comparing the click-through rates on different types of banners.

Adobe Target also provides greater opportunities for personalisation, particularly through Automated Personalisation, powered by Adobe Sensei, Adobe’s artificial intelligence and machine learning framework. Heathrow leverages Automated Personalisation to customise which sub-categories are featured on the Heathrow.com home page. Unlike typical personalisation methods, which use rules created by analysts to personalise experiences, Automated Personalisation uses machine learning to create its own rules and deliver the best offers and experiences for each visitor every time.

“We don’t have the manpower to constantly monitor and adjust the performance for a high-volume area such as the Heathrow.com home page,” says Irvine. “We use the power of Adobe Sensei to intelligently automate our processes and achieve better results than our team can accomplish alone. We’re delivering more relevant offers to each customer, which improves conversions and revenue.”


“Adobe Audience Manager is a game-changer that allows us to bring together all of our data and create a unified experience for our customers no matter how or where they engage with us.”

 

Stuart Irvine
, Analytics and Optimisation Lead, Heathrow Airport


 

Learning best practices for success

For the Heathrow analytics team, Adobe solutions are critical to success. Having smart integrations between Adobe Experience Cloud solutions improves productivity and allows managers to do more with less effort. The Adobe Customer Solutions team contributes to this success, passing on expert knowledge and best practices that help the Heathrow analytics team get the most value from its Adobe Experience Cloud implementation.

Over the years, Heathrow has participated in Adobe Learning courses to help its employees learn to do more with Adobe Experience Cloud solutions. Adobe consultants have led group sessions on Analytics and Target that help teams dig deeper into data and use those insights to optimise experiences. Annual learning passes allow Heathrow to get new employees up to speed or help employees expand their expertise.

Adobe on-site consultants worked closely with Heathrow to help establish Analytics practices. Today Heathrow continues to work with Adobe Customer Solutions offshore consultants to support its implementation and ongoing success.

“Our journey with Adobe has been a great experience,” says Irvine. “Adobe is constantly setting the bar higher for analytics and personalisation success. With Adobe Experience Cloud, we can do more to engage with tens of millions of travellers during their short time at Heathrow.”


“We use the power of Adobe Sensei to intelligently automate our processes and achieve better results than our team can accomplish alone. We’re delivering more relevant offers to each customer, which improves conversions and revenue.”

 

Stuart Irvine
Analytics and Optimisation Lead, Heathrow Airport


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