16 August 2017 | Case study
Edelweiss Case Study: Pre-departure Communications Service
With a growing emphasis on driving revenue beyond seat sales within the travel industry, and a corporate pride in delivering world-class customer service, Edelweiss reviewed and identified key issues with their pre-departure passenger communications and approached notifications specialist 15below for help.
This case study illustrates the significant business opportunities available to airlines looking to cut manual processing, whilst driving new revenues and improved customer service using personalised communications.
Edelweiss is Switzerland’s leading leisure travel airline, operating flights to European and intercontinental destinations from its base in Zurich. It is also the 4th member of the Lufthansa Group to sign with 15below – joining Swiss International Air Lines, Brussels Airlines and Eurowings.
Challenges & Objectives
Before engaging with 15below, Edelweiss was experiencing several issues relating to its pre-departure email communication service. These included:
- Labour-intensive and inefficient - communications were processed in a very manual way and were not streamlined in terms of content, message, design or timing.
- Limited capabilities – with no possibility to offer upsells, ancillaries or to communicate flight-related information.
- No personalisation – content within the notifications could not be tailored for different occasions or passenger groups.
Following the success of various notifications projects implemented by group partner, SWISS, Edelweiss selected 15below to close this gap in the product experience, based on principles set out in the company’s corporate strategy.
By resolving the above issues, it was agreed the following objectives could be met, and would be used as a measure of success for improving airline customer experience and operational efficiency:
- To remove unnecessary manual processing.
- To increase ancillary revenue streams using several different partners and products.
- To reduce incoming call centre volume relating to ‘before journey’ topics.
- To smooth airport check-in and ground experience.
Speed-to-market and cost were both important considerations for the ‘PDC’ solution. Edelweiss understood the negative business impact of their existing ad-hoc and manual communication service and were keen to resolve this as quickly as possible without building up any technical debt in the process. The solution, therefore, had to have the flexibility to roll-out using their existing legacy systems and migrate over to a new reservations system when needed in the future.
Based on these criteria, the following solutions were developed and launched.
1. Pre-Departure Communications
Due to a revision of the IT infrastructure taking place at Edelweiss, the ‘PDC’ notification was built using a daily CSV file drop - an interim solution providing the airline with a flexible solution before integrating with their reservations system in the future.
Using this data, personalised passenger communications could be generated in multiple languages using an Edelweiss-branded email template, 7 days prior to departure of a booking. This would include information relating to most frequently asked questions, as well as targeted upsell ancillaries such as seat reservation, class upgrades and bookings for hotel, airport parking, rental car and excursion partners.
2. Check-In Reminders
Utilising the process and logic within the Pre-Departure Communications template, a ‘Check-In Reminder’ notification template was also created - designed to drive online check-in (OLCI) via the airlines website. The main differences from the classic ‘PDC’ were:
- The timing of the notification send: Check-In Reminder emails are sent 1 day prior to local departure time
- Business rules: Different content is used in the notification depending on whether web check-in is available at the specified departure airport, or not. It also removes some of the content displayed in the ‘PDC’ which does not relate to the check-in process
- Additional Information: Inclusion of security, terminal and recommended check-in time information
The Edelweiss ‘Pre-departure Communications’ project went live on 4th August 2016 and has been a huge success for the teams, delivering on all key objectives.
Removal of unnecessary manual processing
By using the 15below notifications platform and business rules engine, all Edelweiss passengers now automatically receive personalised communications before they fly – significantly reducing manual processing overheads (whilst delivering a consistent service to all).
Increase in ancillary revenues/ bookings
Since the implementation of this new notifications service, Edelweiss have experienced a significant increase of ancillary sales. CarTrawler bookings increased by over 100% in August following its launch, and by another 60% in September, as illustrated below.
CarTrawler bookings pre- and post- project launch (1st August 2016)
Seat reservations have increased significantly since the launch of the project.
Inclusion of ‘Car parking offer’ has exceeded expectations.
Reduction in call centre volumes relating to 'before journey' topics
By reviewing the most frequently asked questions and incorporating this information into their pre-departure notifications service, Edelweiss have successfully cut the volume of calls into the contact centre.
Reduction in airport check-in queues
By providing an Online Check-In reminder (OLCI) to customers before they fly, Edelweiss has reported a reduction in unnecessary congestion at the airport. They have also avoided disappointed passengers who would try to check-in online when the service was not available for their specific airport of departure.
Feedback from Edelweiss
“Together with 15below’s experienced team, we have been able to streamline our passenger communication strategy, closing an important gap in delivering our customer experience goals. 15below has been a reliable and professional partner, exceeding expectations when it comes to service and customer orientation, demonstrating their firmly anchored enthusiasm for customer needs.”
Luca Giordani, Head of Customer Experience, Edelweiss