What Are Your Purple Lights?
by Jeanne Roué-Taylor
If you’ve ever flown on Virgin America, you know from the moment you enter the aircraft that you’re in for a different kind of experience. For starters, they have purple lights along the top of the cabin that give off a very soothing, modern vibe. At TUCON 2013 in Las Vegas this past fall, TIBCO CEO Vivek Ranadivé talked about the Virgin America experience and how important it is for businesses to set themselves apart from their competitors. He called it, “Finding your purple lights.”
What Sets Virgin America Apart
What sets Virgin America apart, other than their cabin lighting, is the real-time approach they’ve taken to customer loyalty. Virgin America’s award point values are dynamic and transparent—each dollar spent on the airline or its affiliated hotels, rental cars, shopping, or credit card partners earns points according to the amount spent.
Virgin America’s redemption process is instant and seamless as well. Dollars-to-points pricing gives their loyal Elevate flyers the clear message that there are no hoops to jump through, no matter whether you pay cash or redeem points. Virgin America makes it easy and simple to be a loyal customer.
A Very Slick Technology Backend
With their slick technology backend to support these customer-facing benefits, Virgin America doesn’t have to use blackout days or other restrictions to manage cash flow the way other airlines do. Point prices are calculated based on day of the week, load, cabin class, and the customer’s history that includes lifetime value and recency. Virgin America can adjust the number of points needed to motivate customers to redeem points when that’s what makes sense for the airline.
Virgin America can only do this because they rely on a real-time infrastructure provided by TIBCO that is rare in the travel business. The airline is very aware that this capability is one more “purple lights” way to serve its customers.