TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards: Flight Centre flys high, wins Best Use of Customer Insight/Data

Getting folks to spend money on travel over the Christmas period is a hard ask. But Flight Centre New Zealand used an innovative approach to data to rise to new heights.

The Challenge

Christmas is a notoriously slow time for travel. It’s not a typical Christmas gift, as travel decisions don’t tend to be entirely spontaneous and it’s not something people generally feel they can make without input from their spouses.

However, Flight Centre wanted an additional $2 million in bookings over the Christmas period (November – December). To succeed,
it needed to promote a greater variety of personalised travel options.

The Response

To do this, it used a unique form of inconspicuous cookie capture, which let it deliver thousands of personalised campaigns for gift receivers.

This meant gift receivers could secretly influence their loved one’s gift selection.

Step one was to get receivers in on the act, contacting them via an EDM from the Flight Centre database. With a link to a bespoke landing page, it explained what Flight Centre were doing and swore them to secrecy.

The receiver then selected a dream destination with their partner or ‘gifter’ via Flight Centre’s click-bait article: “Lonely Planet’s top destinations for 2019 revealed.”

As it had to look credible, the article was hosted by the New Zealand Herald. Flight Centre was allowed to tag the publisher site to capture audiences. This inconspicuous cookie-capture was vital; when the partner clicked, they dropped into an audience pool corresponding to the receiver’s destination.

The next step was nudging gifters. Digital content hijacked the gifter’s daily news and social media feeds as well as on the radio. Then Flight Centre took digital remarketing tactics into the offline world. After the gift receiver shared the gifter’s email to cookie them, the company washed it with the Flight Centre database, cookie pools, and New Zealand Herald login data. Flight Centre now had the ‘gifter’ in real-life with dynamic press inserts into the New Zealand Herald with creative specifically tailored for each receiver’s selected destination and dynamic out-of-home with placed Adshels in exact neighbourhoods with the right creative for each giver, down to individual postcodes.

The next step was converting gifters. With inconspicuous cookie capture complete, personalisation was essential to closing Flight Centre’s priming loop. A collaboration with Google meant it could deliver Personalised Dynamic Search. The top gift searches for 2018 were identified then overlaid that with Flight Centre’s cookie receiver data.

With Trade Me, Flight Centre developed Personalised Dynamic Displays. By washing gifter data with first-party DMP data, it created custom audiences of gifters searching for alternative presents to travel.

The Result

Sales targets exceed by 55 percent, delivering $3.1 million in sales.

This campaign moved Flight Centre’s thinking away from price-point-driven, tactical campaigns that used only above the line

While those drive large sale volume there is another, cleverer way: the smart use of data, combined with a real understanding of people. It has used an evolution of this concept in other campaigns since this was launched – over long weekends such as Easter, and in the lead up to major sales campaigns, without price-point.

Best Use of Customer Insight/Data

Flight Centre New Zealand

Marketing Initiative
The Little Christmas Nudge – Flight Centre

Marketing Partners
FCB Media

Judges Comments’
“The Little Christmas Nudge from Flight Centre and FCB stood out as the winning entry based on the depth of the customer insight and how this was leveraged through the hyper Personalised marketing campaign. The campaign idea was very clever, the use of technology and data was NZ leading and the commercial results and ROI above target.”

Caltex, Independent Liquor (NZ), Mercury, Trade Me, Trustpower

This piece was originally published in the 2019 Awards Issue of NZ Marketing magazine. To get a print copy, subscribe here.

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