In A Sky Full Of Clouds, Frontier Flies Best-Of-Breed

Frontier Airlines is on a quest to facilitate direct customer relationships. To do that, it’s turned to Qubit to build a personalization engine from scratch.

While site personalization and cross-channel communications used to be more of a “nice to have” for brands, it’s now table stakes for airlines like Frontier.

“For a lot of customers, their first touch with us will most likely still be our website and subsequently, they’ll follow through a number of digital experiences, like email or mobile app,” said Doug Bertram, the airline’s senior manager of digital marketing and ecommerce. “Once they fly with us, we follow up with a post-flight survey via email.”

Frontier wants to create a unified view of a flyer’s journey across all those channels and it’s using Qubit to personalize offers based on a person’s position in the booking stage.

Facilitating more direct-to-consumer transactions ultimately gives Frontier better control over the end experience, which, in turn, creates a data feedback loop. 

“Our airline already has a lot of data, but we’ve got lots of pieces to solve for,” Bertram said. “We’d definitely like to understand how people are using the mobile app and how that experience translates to the in-airport experience offline.”

In addition to improved personalization, Frontier will use Qubit to build a recommendation engine of sorts.

That capability will allow Frontier to promote ancillary products (e.g., partner hotel offers or “offline” offers, like the Nespresso-branded coffee bars Lufthansa has at German airports) and to drive new revenue streams in an industry facing margin pressures.

As the airline moves into new markets (it’s launching 11 new year-round and seasonal routes for nine cities), the Denver-based airline is encountering plenty of prospective customers who aren’t familiar with the name Frontier.

Thus, Frontier’s acquisition strategy will be as vital as retention, so it’s brainstorming ways to blend CRM data from its multiple loyalty programs with transactional and behavioral data to personalize offers based on a flyer’s familiarity with Frontier.

While some brands like to standardize on a single marketing cloud stack, Frontier Airlines is taking a different route with Qubit.

“We can certainly recognize there’s a benefit to some brands to be beholden to one particular software portfolio to create synergies, but that’s not necessarily a focus here at Frontier,” Bertram said. “We tend to weigh the cost versus the value to the customer, which sometimes means going best-of-breed.”

Frontier still works with marketing clouds – it has used Salesforce’s social marketing solutions, for instance. But one benefit of going best-of-breed is that brands can customize the software from scratch to fit their own needs.

“We’re starting by identifying the low-hanging fruit opportunities and then putting together a strategy for how we’ll go through the bigger challenges,” Bertram said. “Once we have our own road map for our testing strategy, we’ll work with Qubit to determine what our overall road map needs to look like.

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