Air Malta – An integrated marketing solution
With over 5 million site visits per year and target key markets in UK, Italy, France, Germany, Russia and the Netherlands, Air Malta plc is the largest destination airline flying out of Malta.
In October 2015, ICON developed a new website re-design for Air Malta. Improvements were made in navigation and further additional functionality were added to the website. Services were added including a feature to offer personalised real-time deals according to the customers’ location.
The website boasts a minimalist design focused on completing bookings in an easier manner and presenting customers with the best fares on offers. Intended to enhance the user experience, it is now faster and easier for users to access information and browse the core features of the website. Air Malta’s recently developed portal also uses new technology in which it remembers critical users choices allowing personalisation for all visitors.
Commenting on this launch, Ursula Silling, Air Malta’s Chief Commercial Officer said, “We are very excited to re-launch our website. The aim of this project was to offer a simplified yet more efficient platform to enhance customer experience and make travel with Air Malta easier and more convenient. The key driver of this project was customer’s feedback received through surveys done with a representative group of Air Malta customers as well as user’s behaviour patterns on the website.
Our website is like our flagship store where clients can browse to find our best offers and the widest selection of offers possible. The new site follows an extensive review of the online purchase process with a view to make it simpler and faster. We aimed to have a clearer navigation menu and personalisation of the user experience by featuring content targeted at specific users. These are only the first steps. We are working on further web improvements that will include further enhancements in mobile and web check-in amongst others.”
ICON was approached in 2012 by Air Malta to initiate a restructuring program, aimed at rebranding and repositioning itself as a destination airline which would increasingly focus on attracting customers and doing business through its web channels. With this initiative a spate of technology requirements were put forward. These ranged from entire web-platform redevelopment to multiple legacy integration initiatives and data consolidation.
Given the complex technical and marketing requirements put forward by this project, an agile methodology offering an iterative and incremental approach to development was key to ensure the successful deployment of all technical modules.
The solution was thus tiered as follows:
- User-Interface: User-experience became a central theme in the redesign process so as to ensure that the airline established a competitive advantage and increased the likelihood of engagement with the brand. Led by ICON’s Lead UI team, the tasks involved, the design of:
- the main Air Malta website,
- a new ‘Malta’ portlet to further promote the airline’s commitment as a broker of the Maltese islands, and
- skinning of third party channels including 3rd party agent tools and social channels. The UI takes on additional challenges due to the multilingual approach (support of 7 languages) and extreme user-personalisation.
- Functionality: Built using .NET technology and powered by Microsoft Azure’s cloud infrastructure, ICON is responsible for the development of multiple bespoke modules as well as the integration of various APIs including: booking process management, frequent flyer systems, payment gateway services, data mining tools and business intelligence layers, e-CRM and user engagement tools, social authentication engines, Oracle platform integration and user-profiling tools. The site is location aware and tailors its offers and content based on user profile and geo-specific data.
- Security: Due to the nature of the project several security considerations shaped the development of the system’s blue print and regular security screening is provided.
- Digital Marketing: ICON’s experience in SEO, ranking and campaign amplification has been a key asset to Air Malta. In this regard the airline has entrusted numerous campaigns to ICON and has achieved increasingly positive results in terms of conversions, user engagement and ranking. ICON is also responsible for the development of several social media applications and the management of multiple digital marketing channels.
The site boasts a number of key features including:
- Business Intelligence: Utilising data patterns to improve user experience in real-time.
- Location Aware: Knowing where the user is browsing from allows for personalisation of the experience by offering the right content.
- Browser & Context Aware: Because the software application can interpret the user’s browser settings it can auto set certain user experience preferences such his/her language.
- Deeply Social: With deep social media integration users can sign through Facebook and exchanging their details with Air Malta allowing the airline to better service its customer needs.
- Realtime: With a fully integrated stock and inventory system, the airline is able to display the best price for a preferred location in realtime. Better still this is location aware.
- Faster. Simpler. Better: The booking widget has been improved over hundreds of iterations and multivariate experiments to offer the user a faster, simpler and better experience.
- Full value chain integration: The website integrates hotel-bookings, insurance car-rentals another ancillaries within the service mix. Purchase processes are improved through the principle of progressive disclosure which only shows the user the data he/she needs at the time rather than occupying the screen with needless information.
- Powerful user dashboards: Once logged in, users gain access to a personalised dashboard which show flight purchase history, flypass details as well as user preferences. These preferences include seating and meal preferences as well as currency and language settings.
- Multichannel Marketing: Offering a true integrated multiple channel offering, the site integrates social media initiatives, media content, direct marketing tools and critical customer-feedback data.
- Multilingual: The site is offered in several languages thus presenting thousands of pages of rich, indexable content. Each language is SEO-tuned to offer the airline the best search results possible.
- Built in the cloud: Using the latest cloud technology offering, the site is built for scalability and resilience. More so, using a Content Delivery Network, the experience for international users is improved as content is served from data centres closer to their locality. The ensures high availability and high performance.
- Responsive: The site has responds to different form factors and screen orientations to offer the user a cross-device experience.
- Fully integrated: The web application is fully integrated to multiple business tools and information systems which allow the airline to conduct its business while placing the customer at the heart of its operations.
Philip Saunders, Air Malta’s Chief Commercial Officer (2012)