Kellie Kowalski

Allegiant Travel Company

Updating an airline’s emails.

The Project

When I first came aboard the marketing team at Allegiant, I set about familiarizing myself with the brand standard. Unfortunately, they were all directed at print and media. The webstite (which was out of date and being redesigned by an external agency), had a myriad of styles and zero oversight to the design.

Additionally, I needed to update the marketing and transactional emails to be responsive.

The Solution

After clocking about 7 different button styles across the site, I decided my best course of action would be to set a standard that would be used as a reference for internal design and development teams.

Each element would also have code snippets, and a description about the its usage. While we couldn’t participate in decision making for the redesign, we could manage our own little patch of the site. And then once the new site launched, we could update the library with those styles, and continue to use it as a digital guide going forward.

Updating the Email Templates

Most airlines make revenue on upgrades and packages with 3rd parties. A drip campaign was started that would take customers outside of the weekly marketing campaigns once they purchased tickets, and put them into a drip pipline.

My task was to design emails for each leg of the drip campaign, that was variable by segment. So if you were a single traveler who booked a car rental, but not a hotel, you’d get a different set of messaging from a family who had checked baggage and no packages. Each email would change according to an individual passanger and how near their departure date was. The calls to action would vary as well.

email wireframes

I also made it a point to change the old template design, which kept all the messaging in a giant image, with the discalimer being the only real text. As most email usage is now mobile, I wanted a responsive design that would place an emphasis on typographic hierarchy at any viewport size. Even though you can’t use a custom font across all email clients, a well set default font can work just as effectively as a fancy brand font.

I also wanted to make sure that if an image was blocked, the message wouldn’t be entirely lost.

This campaign did end up increasing upgrades for passengers leading up to their flights.

Transactional Email Concept

My other email related goal was to update the booking emails, so they’d be usable on a mobile device and highlight useful information.

If you’ve ever flown on a low-cost airline, you may have noticed a few differences from the larger airlines. Front desks close earlier, luggage restrictions are lighter, and in-flight snacks operate differently.

I wanted to highlight the lesser known parts of budget travel for many who were new to it, and alleviate the frustration that inevitably comes from those inconveniences.

I did so by implementing a mobile-friendly, responsive design that chunked pertinant information into easy to read groups, so you can have your flight information at a glance. Printing tickets at home, while still an option, is becoming less and less common with the rise of mobile boarding passes, and I wanted this to be legible while people were on the go.

boarding pass email mocked up in an iPad and iPhone

I then highlighted the flight restrictions with illustrations, because most people just skim content. The images were designed to stand out in what would otherwise be a sea of copy about rules. No one wants to read the rules.

Ultimately, my goal in redesigning these transactional emails was twofold. I wanted to be able to cut down on call center complaints, since many were caused by lack of good inital communication. And I wanted to remove a small part of travel stress for Allegiant’s passengers; airports are stressful enough as it is!

Boarding Pass Email