Acxiom And Adobe Team Up To Connect The Passenger Experience At Heathrow Airport

Every year, 75 million passengers travel through Heathrow Airport, shopping, eating and engaging with services as they wait to board their flights.

But despite the thousands of interactions passengers have with its concessions, Heathrow itself knows very little about those people, said Simon Chatfield, head of eBusiness and CRM at Heathrow Airport.

“Most of that data is proprietary [to those vendors],” Chatfield said.

Heathrow wanted to connect the pockets of data throughout the airport to give passengers a more personalized and consistent experience prior to, during and after a flight. So it tapped Connected Spaces, a product launched by Acxiom and Adobe in July that stitches together data throughout venues like airports, stadiums and concert arenas to unify the customer experience.

“We [want] to improve the passenger experience so we are connected to deliver the world’s best airport service,” Chatfield said. “That requires insight and greater touch points.”

With Connected Spaces, Acxiom stitches together insights across Heathrow’s vendors, loyalty programs, pre-booking sites, on-site Wi-Fi and beacons, and ports that into Adobe Campaign via APIs. Heathrow then uses Adobe Campaign to segment and target passengers with relevant offers throughout the airport.

“We deployed around Adobe Campaign to get data in very rapidly,” said David Keens, principal marketing technologist at Acxiom. “As soon as somebody registers on Wi-Fi or arrives at your parking facility, you have that integration in your marketing tool.”

To make it easier for venues to ingest and stitch together different data sets, Acxiom groups insights under general classes of interactions, Keens said. A passenger, for example, can either book, cancel or park a car. Those can be grouped under “parking class transactions,” while others are booked under “retail class transactions,” “Wi-Fi logins” or “lounge bookings,” for example.

“Marketers are really interested in knowing: Is this customer on the campus now and do they have the mobile app, or are they traveling with children?” Keens said. “With the data model we’ve designed, we’ve abstracted some of that complexity.”

Venues can also pull in third-party data from Acxiom and use LiveRamp, Acxiom’s data onboarder, to distribute campaigns across platforms.

“We analyze and segment the data and figure out who is the highest-value customer or who is most likely to do what next,” said Jason Skelton, account director at Acxiom. “Then we activate that data via email, display, push notifications or SMS.”

Heathrow’s biggest entry point to the customer relationship is through its free Wi-Fi service, which 20,000 to 30,000 passengers log onto any given morning or afternoon, Chatfield said. The airport also gets CRM data from the 2.2 million customers signed up for its loyalty rewards program.

By aggregating that information about its passengers and how they move through the terminal, Heathrow’s airport experience becomes more relevant to those customers’ reasons for traveling, Chatfield said.

“If we can understand you’re a family and tell you about baby-changing facilities, that will improve your service,” he said. “If we’re communicating about commercial opportunities, there’s an increased share of wallet there also.”

And the proof is in the pudding. Heathrow saw an average increase of 20-25% in customer spend per visit after launching Connected Spaces.

“The fact that we genuinely can speak to the customer and have the relationship is the best result we’ve seen,” Chatfield said.

Connected Spaces is a new kind of product from Acxiom, which typically does large systems integration and data onboarding projects for clients, Keens said. And despite having a large global partnership with Adobe, it’s the first time the two companies have worked together to launch a joint product.

“It’s a continuation of Acxiom’s journey to use technology and data to improve brands’ ability to connect with their customers,” he said. “We’re seeing a shift toward SaaS models and a partnership ecosystem where data is integrated.”

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