Home Ecommerce Spirit Aims For New Heights In The Airline Experience

Spirit Aims For New Heights In The Airline Experience

SHARE:

BasicsAs one of the largest ultra-low-cost carriers in the US, Spirit Airlines became synonymous with nickel and diming passengers for anything beyond a basic seat.

But with a recent CEO change and a planned site relaunch this fall, Spirit is also trying to become more data-driven to improve customer retention and new passenger acquisition.

“We’re thinking about our ecommerce strategy a little more because we’ve primarily been a low-cost airline that really relied on our price advantage,” said Rana Ghosh, senior director of ancillary revenue for Spirit.

That’s not to say that Spirit is forsaking its budget-friendly roots, but the airline sees opportunity to improve its overall experience.

The airline industry traditionally took razor-thin margins, and sometimes airlines look to recoup losses through add-ons like hotel or car rental bookings or extra legroom.

But for Spirit, ancillary revenue makes up about 40% of its total top-line (and growing), so it’s a key revenue-driving strategy.

While Spirit rarely struggled to fill a plane thanks to its low-price travel, it didn’t have much insight on customers beyond the final booking.

“We were seeing people fast-forward through all of our (ancillary) offers just to get to the booking because they weren’t relevant,” Ghosh said. “They ended up going elsewhere to get the same services we could have provided and we realized we were losing a real opportunity to affect the bottom line.”

So while Spirit instinctively thought, for instance, millennials might like boutique hotel options near a beach while budget-conscious families would want to stay near amusement parks, it wasn’t acting on those inclinations. 

“Independent of who you were, you were pretty much getting the same offers presented to you,” Ghosh added. “It was very generic.”

Spirit is in the process of implementing marketing analytics platform Qubit to improve its web analytics to start, but ultimately the airline hopes to understand the path to conversion.

Subscribe

AdExchanger Daily

Get our editors’ roundup delivered to your inbox every weekday.

The next step is to marry operational data, which includes info like routes and cancellations, with customer and ecommerce data collected by Qubit.

Spirit also envisions applying Qubit’s data insights to brand campaigns in social, where it focuses most of its paid media efforts.

“We don’t invest a tremendous amount on the paid media side, and part of that reason is we generally fill our planes being a low-cost carrier,” Ghosh said. “Having said that, we think we can do a better job [where we have invested].”

As with Groupon’s early days, a major challenge is retaining discount-minded customers post-purchase.

Spirit doesn’t want to be perceived as a one-time deal, particularly when loyalty programs are a point of pride for many airlines.

Thus, gaining repeat business was the basis of Spirit’s new loyalty program that rewards passengers with points when they spend less on selected routes.

Ghosh said all of these moving parts – the new loyalty program, rebranded website and Qubit deployment – will help Spirit establish baseline data to begin improving the experience both online and in-flight.

“We’ll use data to tweak our model and understand where there’s dissatisfaction and where we can make changes in our policies,” he said. “One part is operational. Did we get you to your destination on time with a clean and friendly experience? Then, are they amenable to putting Spirit at the top of their list for their next flight?”

Must Read

Advertible Makes Its Case To SSPs For Running Native Channel Extensions

Companies like TripleLift that created the programmatic native category are now in their awkward tween years. Cue Advertible, a “native-as-a-service” programmatic vendor, as put by co-founder and CEO Tom Anderson.

Mozilla acquires Anonym

Mozilla Acquires Anonym, A Privacy Tech Startup Founded By Two Top Former Meta Execs

Two years after leaving Meta to launch their own privacy-focused ad measurement startup in 2022, Graham Mudd and Brad Smallwood have sold their company to Mozilla.

Nope, We Haven’t Hit Peak Retail Media Yet

The move from in-store to digital shopper marketing continues, as United Airlines, Costco, PayPal, Chase and Expedia make new retail media plays. Plus: what the DSP Madhive saw in advertising sales software company Frequence.

Privacy! Commerce! Connected TV! Read all about it. Subscribe to AdExchanger Newsletters
Comic: Ad-ception

The New York Times And Instacart Integrate For Shoppable Recipes

The New York Times and Instacart are partnering for shoppable recipe videos.

Experian Enters The Third-Party Data Onboarding Business

Experian entered the third-party data onboarder market on Tuesday with a new product based on its Tapad acquisition.

Albertsons Takes Its First Steps Into Non-Endemic Advertising, Retail Media’s Next Frontier

Albertsons is taking that first step into non-endemic advertising next week via a partnership with Rokt to serve ads to people who have already purchased groceries.