Marketing Services

Breaking Down Silos to Deliver an End-to-End Customer Experience

Travel is fascinating, especially when I consider it from a marketing perspective. It’s unlike selling any other product: travel is deeply personal. It’s memorable. What’s more, consumers respond to that personalization. When we tailor digital experiences according to user preferences, conversion rates double.

Post-pandemic, travel is back in a big way. We’ve surpassed pre-COVID travel numbers: there will be an estimated 1.5 billion international tourists in 2024 and in the summer of 2023, travelers took an average of about three trips.

Even in the height of inflation and economic uncertainty, travel spending is rising. The marketing arms race is on, and it has huge implications for businesses in the travel industry.

Brightline, a high-speed rail service based in Florida, partnered with WillowTree to capitalize on these implications and opportunities. Brightline Chief Technology and Digital Innovation Officer Kevin McAuliffe and I recently took the stage at Adobe Summit 2024 to share how the rail service transformed its customer experience and implemented Adobe Experience Cloud capabilities in less than 12 weeks.

Using Adobe Experience Cloud to Deliver Modernized, Personalized Train Travel Experiences

Brightline sought to modernize its digital experiences to match the seamlessness and luxury of their physical train rides. However, fragmented systems and data silos constrained marketing efforts, and inconsistent digital touchpoints frustrated riders. With Brightline preparing to open a new Orlando train station, the rail service needed more intuitive, dependable, and scalable digital solutions.

We went from concept to launch of CDP, AJO, and CJA in just twelve weeks.

“We needed a total rebuild. Our old infrastructure was a costly endeavor that resulted in millions of dollars lost to the business. It didn’t achieve what it was promised or supposed to do. It included about 40 to 50 different vendors and SaaS solutions that hindered anything from working. With WillowTree’s help, we created a new cloud infrastructure and middleware layer to serve every guest experience.”

— Kevin McAuliffe, Chief Technology and Digital Innovation Officer, Brightline Trains LLC

To achieve its vision of fully modernizing train travel, Brightline partnered with WillowTree's entire end-to-end suite of capabilities to deliver a revamped website, native apps (iOS and Android), kiosks, digital signage, and a digital marketing engine fueled by Adobe Experience Cloud. The resulting transformation is delighting travelers with a best-in-class digital experience worthy of Brightline’s premium brand.

Brightline’s investments in the Adobe ecosystem continue to pay dividends. Since launch, the rail service has seen:

  • 20% growth month-over-month
  • 4x more bookings via the new website
  • 70% reduction in time to book
  • 50% increase in app downloads
  • 615% increase in unbranded traffic

So how’d we do it? Get on board…

Enhancing the Train Travel Experience, Starting with a Solid MarTech Foundation

We started by building an extensive, research-backed Customer Journey Map to ensure Brightline travelers received the right content, at the right time, at the right price point, and on the right platform.

To serve these new experiences, we built a new cloud infrastructure and middleware layer. The Adobe ecosystem plays a critical role in Brightline’s new architecture, helping the railway consolidate vast amounts of data and activate personalization opportunities.

“With Adobe Experience Manager and Adobe Experience Platform, we can now deploy experiences on the fly. Whereas before, it took us a month to develop and launch new code — new code that often didn’t function properly anyway. Now, we can successfully do two-week sprints, hot-fixes in real-time, and deliver like the experts we are.”

— Kevin McAuliffe

Driving Revenue Through Integrated, Personalized Travel Experiences

“By the time we got to the project’s starting point,” Kevin recalled, “we were struggling to deploy content and assets in support of our marketing team.”

With support from Adobe Experience Manager Content Fragments, Brightline could design, develop, and launch its key digital touchpoints — beginning with web, then mobile, in-station kiosks, and more.  

Once Brightline stood up its new content capabilities, it began normalizing its data processes to drive more informed insights. Through Adobe Real-Time Customer Data Platform and Adobe Experience Platform, Brightline created an actionable profile for every guest that arrives at its services through the application, web, social media, or elsewhere to help the railway deliver exceptionally personalized marketing campaigns.

“Adobe enabled us to deploy real-time, responsive content. Through these capabilities, we could drive business outcomes like increasing train ridership, ultimately bringing revenue back to our business. The best part was the relationship with WillowTree, who set us up for success and helped us learn how to use the tools effectively.”

— Kevin McAuliffe

Brightline now drives 100% of its commerce through digital channels, including B2B, B2C, group, and travel agents. WillowTree’s use case-driven approach ensured Brightline was creating value right out of the gate by setting up priority segments in Adobe Real-Time Customer Data Platform, mapping these to journeys and offers orchestrated by Adobe Journey Optimizer, and tracking and analyzing performance in Adobe Customer Journey Analytics.

Connect with WillowTree to Learn More

Delivering impactful customer experiences is complex — especially as today’s customers have growing expectations for personalization. When your organization, data, and content are spread across silos it only propagates that complexity. Worse yet, it fogs customer insights, degrades experiences, and leaves profit on the table.

Let’s talk about how Adobe can help your business drive better insights and outcomes throughout your customers’ journeys.

Watch the full presentation from Adobe Summit here

Table of Contents
Read the Video Transcript

One email, once a month.

Our latest thinking—delivered.
Thank you! You have been successfully added to our monthly email list.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
More content

Let's talk.

Elegant, Performant Digital Products.
Personalized, Automated Marketing.
The Frontiers of Data and Generative AI.