Avanti West Coast is a long-distance rail company and one of the primary rail operators in the UK. Operating high-speed trains, the company provides services on the West Coast Main Line between the West Midlands, North West England, North Wales, and Scotland, connecting a number of major terminals in six of the UK’s largest cities like London, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow, and Edinburgh.
The transport industry has been massively impacted over the past couple of years due to continuous lockdowns, social distancing, and changes in traveling guidelines. Now travel restrictions have been lifted and the number of customers using trains is gaining traction, railway companies are acutely aware of adopting differentiated tools to recover from the losses they had in bookings and revenue and to execute more accurate strategies to effectively engage with customers.
The opportunity to grow and enrich its customer database was one of Avanti’s main priorities in order to significantly impact repeat traveler indicators. However, with 80% of Avanti customers booking indirectly through OTAs, they faced big challenges such as:
- Reduced margins
- No information on who their customers are, only information on the booker
- No insight into why they are traveling
- No options for repeat contact to engage with and encourage them to book directly with Avanti next time
Additionally, it has been crucial for Avanti to adopt accurate methods that measure the impact of the improvements applied to their services. They have enhanced their onboard shop on specific trains to test upselling performance with at-seat orders as well as pushing effective communication to drive premium upgrades. Both strategies are aimed at keeping Avanti highly competitive in their field, front of mind with each customer, and boosting annual revenue.
To further strengthen the experience for new and returning customers, Avanti implemented Purple’s WiFi solutions across 78 trains and 23 stations to provide high-quality, free guest WiFi to all passengers.
By deploying Purple’s WiFi solutions, data analytics insights, and Micro-Surveys capabilities, not only do they offer a great connection, but they also have the benefit of analyzing data to help them understand:
- Key demographic information on their customers, which can be used to have a complete idea of who is traveling
- The opportunity to contact them after they have traveled with offers to encourage direct booking next time.
- Through the Micro-Survey functionality, dig deeper and learn why the customer is traveling and get actionable insights to influence repeat visits
- Through the Micro-survey functionality, gather feedback from travelers on trains that have had a refurb to their onboard shop
- Using the Micro-survey feature, how effective, actionable and intense is the communication to push upselling offerings like premium upgrades and on-seat orders to passengers
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As part of this smarter and more connected strategy, during a period of 12 months, the response rate was outstanding. By promoting a secure and seamless connection to their guest WiFi network, Avanti has had an extraordinary reception with its customers online with 2,249,803 unique visitors and 10,454,300 logins from WiFi users.
Before Avanti partnered with Purple, their post-visit indicators showed just a 28% survey response rate and a 10% open rate for ad hoc surveys. With Purple’s Micro-Survey implementation, in less than 6 months 791,838 surveys were completed with a 95% response rate.
Increase in repeat customers:
This is why Purple’s Micro-Surveys functionality has become so important and valuable to Avanti. They are now continually getting feedback to gather actionable insights, capture information on the additional attendees alongside the booker, and have influenced their marketing communications strategies to drive repeat visits. Since the survey feedback started to be collected they saw 5,369 extra travelers over a period of 3 months, which equates to 21,476 repeat visits across the year and a 463% return on investment.
Increase in upsell revenue:
On top of this, Purple’s WiFi Analytics enablements have significantly addressed the challenges that limit revenue increase and Avanti has tirelessly acted on the survey’s feedback with effective marketing and operational actions. The onboard shop surveys, with 19,503 responses and a 76% response rate, have resulted in 2,484 upselling purchases at on-seat orders and 1,260 standard premium upgrades totalizing a 31% return on investment on this survey alone.
To capitalize on the opportunities ahead, it is critical travelers have access to a seamless platform like Purple WiFi analytics for Avanti to collect valuable information from customers. Just by using Purple’s functionality and getting real-time feedback, they will keep adding the ‘Wow’ factor to every operational detail and to the mix of high-value services onboard.
‘I can honestly say it’s a delight to work with the Purple team. The focus on delivering value to your customers is very apparent and nothing is too much trouble. Engagement is quick and sessions are always well planned and rewarding, ensuring we can continue to grow and develop the relationship and explore the boundaries of what is possible, to help provide the best possible service to our passengers.’
Abdul Qayoom, IT Service Manager