Skip to Content

Maximise Relevance With Marketing AI: See How Flight Centre Drives 240% More Sales With Personalisation

With purpose-built AI, today’s marketers can fuel engagement as well as productivity. Discover tips on how to get started and see how Flight Centre is driving success.

If you joined us at World Tour Sydney 2024, you’ll have heard how our customers are revolutionising marketing excellence with Marketing Cloud and AI. Flight Centre is one of these. 

The Australian-born, international travel company reduced martech spend by 65% through consolidating platforms and adopting Marketing Cloud globally. It has also used automation and AI to drive up productivity while increasing engagement and sales.  

Let’s explore the various ways AI is reshaping marketing, then read on to discover the strategies behind Flight Centre’s success.

The marketing AI transformation

The use of AI in marketing is not new. However, the focus over the past decade or so has been on the use of predictive AI to better understand customers and recommend the right products. Putting these use cases into practice has also typically relied on the skills of data scientists. 

Enter the era of generative AI. It has not only expanded the use of AI, but democratised it. We can play with AI to create images or posts for social media. We can use it to create playlists or research destinations for our next holiday. 

The ease of use and new confidence in AI opens the door for us to apply it more in our daily work. And for marketers, there are many specific ways AI can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of what we do. 

For example, generative AI can be used to brainstorm and speed the creation of campaign briefs. It can automate segmentation based on data, reducing manual effort and risk of bias. 

Generative AI can also be used to scale and personalise content—something that many marketers say they don’t have time to do. 

Ready to create personalised customer experiences and drive ROI?

Overcoming the trust gap and getting started with marketing AI

Marketers are known for their creativity and for embracing new ideas. So if using AI is now easier and more beneficial, why haven’t all marketers embedded it into their flow of work? 

One issue is the trust gap. Businesses have concerns over data privacy. They are worried about AI hallucinations, bias, and toxicity. However, just as there are guidelines to ensure ethical marketing, there are tools and practices to promote responsible development and use of AI. It’s also important to remember that AI is only as good as the data you feed it. 

These things in mind, there are ways that marketers can start to safely experiment. If you have Marketing Cloud, pick one AI marketing tool and give it a go. Take Segment Creation, for example, which allows you to automatically generate segments using a prompt. 

Another AI marketing tool to try out is Content Creation which makes it easy to generate subject lines, email copy, and images. So you can scale up your marketing efforts and engage customers in new ways.

See pages 7-9 in this guide to see what AI features in Marketing Cloud can help your business.

How Flight Centre revolutionised marketing excellence

So what does excellence look like for today’s marketers? Clinton Hearne, Global Head of Marketing at Flight Centre, joined us at World Tour Sydney to share how his team has scaled up its digital capabilities so it can reach every customer, with the right product, via the right channel, at the right time. 

For a brand that operates in five markets and provides solo travellers, couples, families, and groups with flights, tours, cruises, and stays in destinations around the world, this is an impressive achievement. 

Hearne shared that the Flight Centre’s journey to personalisation began with consolidating the 150 systems used across marketing down to 60 systems and establishing a single view of the customer. This involved replacing several marketing automation tools with Marketing Cloud and connecting customer and transaction data to better understand and segment its audience. 

Flight Centre reduced its martech spend by 65% as a result and is now using Marketing Cloud across all five markets to tailor key moments across the customer journey.  

The marketing team started with three use cases to prove the value of Personalisation. Hearne advocated for this focused-approach, rather than overwhelming or distracting the team with too many new things at once. 

“We chose to do a couple of things that were easy to implement and another that was more complex. It was a great mix as even small changes can help you realise big savings or growth,” said Hearne.

Flight Centre’s initial Personalisation use cases:
  1. Lead acquisition with pop ups on site: By tailoring incentives and messaging for visitors to subscribe, Flight Centre increased its subscriber conversion rate by 60%.
  2. AI-powered email personalisation: Personalised deal recommendations were inserted into email based on customer insights and browsing history, resulting in 240% more sales from email.
  3. Website personalisation: For known visitors to the website, Flight Centre is now able to display personalised offers. This has led to 46% upwards in additional flight and deal leads and online bookings.

Flight Centre achieves ROI in one year

In addition to reducing martech spend and increasing sales, Flight Centre’s marketing team has increased productivity by 71%. These results and others have combined to deliver positive ROI in one year. 

There have been a lot of additional benefits flowing off the back of this project, including the ability to make decisions on the fly powered by AI. You can’t undervalue the importance of that.

Clinton Hearne
Global Head of Marketing, Flight Centre

Start your journey towards personalisation

Marketing personalisation, powered by AI, can help you take your customer relationships to the next level and drive ROI across your marketing programs. 

Learn how to create a strategy of your own to personalise customer experiences at scale. Download our e-book, Customising for Every Customer: How 1-to-1 Personalisation Drives ROI.

Ready to create personalised customer experiences and drive ROI?

Get the latest articles in your inbox.