The Power of Technology to Guide Customers Who Travel

Tracking customers by location used to seem a bit invasive, but with new possibilities of providing better service or incentives, customers are warming up to the idea of sharing more with companies. Companies are using location awareness to accomplish all sorts of enhancements from knowing when a customer has arrived, to helping them navigate a complicated building.

While we won’t cover them much here, we also can’t ignore the benefits provided from an analytics standpoint. Companies who can collect location information from customers can learn more about those customers and provide them with a customized experience.

Nearly every brick-and-mortar retailer is working on some sort of location-aware experience. While many of these provide special offers or deliver marketing messages, we’ve honed in on a few that specifically benefit the customer. One that caught our attention was Virgin Atlantic’s use of beacons in Heathrow airport to help guide travelers through the travel experience.

From the Virgin Atlantic blog: “Following on from the successful Google Glass trial in our Upper Class Wing, Upper Class passengers at London Heathrow will become some of the first people to experience a new technology designed to give personal notifications to their phones via Apple’s iBeacon technology, which uses Bluetooth Low Energy and geofencing to provide a connected service through their airport experience. Smartphones, with Apple Passbook downloaded, in range of a device can receive communications from the beacon related to their location in the airport.

For example, an Upper-Class passenger approaching the private security channel can receive a notification for their phone to open their electronic boarding pass ready to be scanned by security. In the main area of the airport, passengers using the service will receive special partner offers, such as 0 percent commission as they pass the MoneyCorp currency exchange booth.

At this stage, we’ve only skimmed the surface on the advantages that this technology can offer our customers,” said Reuben Arnold, our Brand & Customer Engagement Director. “In the future, we expect it to further personalize our passenger’s journey, such as notifying an Upper-Class passenger that there is an open appointment in the Clubhouse spa or introducing the crew members on their flight as they board the aircraft. Our passengers are increasingly more connected as they travel and by using advanced technology we can improve customer experience and continue to put innovation at the heart of the flying experience.

The way we’re looking at iBeacon is probably not quite the standard use of it,” said James Shanahan, our Head of Development for eBusiness. “We’re talking in terms of the surprise and delight factor, and so while there may be the potential for future discounts and offers, we’re actually looking at how we can provide a greater customer experience.”

This closing quote highlights exactly why we chose to feature Virgin Atlantic. Their customer-first approach to technologies often results in a far better experience for customers.