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JetBlue integrates mobile, CRM for personalized in-flight service

PHILADELPHIA – A JetBlue executive at eTail East spoke about several new ways that the airline is leveraging mobile, including in-flight Wi-Fi, tablets and some opportunities with wearable technology and augmented reality.

The “Transforming Air Travel through the Use of the Mobile Channel” session presented a look at how customers play a key role in how JetBlue prioritizes its mobile efforts. The session also gave attendees some mobile stats from an election-themed campaign from the end of last year.

“We really wanted to make sure at the end that when we are delivering products for customers we’re always thinking what’s the best thing that we can do for them,” said Jonathan Stephen, head of mobile and emerging technologies at JetBlue, New York.

“So we’re not the first in the air with Wi-Fi, but we’re very proud of the product that we’re delivering,” he said.

Onboard Wi-Fi
JetBlue has been ramping up its mobile efforts around the onboard experience recently.

For example, JetBlue has begun buying planes with Wi-Fi that Mr. Stephen claimed will let travelers access the Internet with better connections than previously available on other airlines.

Additionally, on-board tablets are being rolled out to employees to better serve fliers.

The pilot program gives pilots additional information for the particular flight that is coming up and essentially takes manuals mobile.

In-flight crew members are also using tablets.

The program will also integrate with CRM so that employees will know a consumer’s preferences to better help. For example, knowing a consumer’s drink preference could potentially help the airline serve and ultimately upsell to consumers.

JetBlue is adjusting how personal the CRM will be, but it is a feature that consumers have asked for with a personalized experience.

JetBlue is also interested in doing some work with wearable technology.

For example, the brand sent in a package of ideas to Google with ideas for how the technology could be used while inside an airport. The concept lets consumers scout out things such as terminals and charging stations via Google Glass.

App success
Two years ago, JetBlue refreshed its Web and mobile site and rolled out an iPhone app, all of which tightly integrate with the airline’s True Blue loyalty program.

As a result of the revamp, True Blue enrollments increased 10 percent, and the app has racked up more than two million downloads.

Additionally, this year the brand rolled out mobile boarding passes that will be live in 40 airports by the end of this year.

Mr. Stephen said that JetBlue’s iPhone app will be enabled with Apple’s Passbook within the next couple of weeks so that consumers can store their boarding pass into a central hub that is location-triggered.

Passbook is being used by multiple big airlines already and is one of  the features that consumers told JetBlue that they wanted within the app.

Multichannel presence
Mobile plays a big role in JetBlue’s overall media campaigns that focus on getting consumers involved with marketing.

Take a recent marketing push around the 2012 presidential election, for example.

The campaign was meant to take a lighthearted approach to the elections and let consumers vote on who they wanted to win the election. If their candidate did not win, users were entered into a sweepstakes for a free flight out of the country.

The campaign included mobile, and the stats point to the medium’s use as being effective in driving traffic and click-through rates.

Mr. Stephen claimed that mobile placements drove click-through rates 70 to 75 percent higher than industry averages, and 18 percent of site interactions were generated via mobile.

Additionally, 34 percent of overall votes were generated via mobile, and the average time spent on the site was two minutes and four seconds.

Mobile’s use with social also had a strong play in the campaign. Thirty-four percent of overall votes were driven from social.

“The idea is to learn how your customers are engaging with you and build for them,” Mr. Stephen said.

“It’s above all creating that personalized experience for the customer,” he said.

Final Take