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Two hundred customer intelligence professionals have spoken: Cathay Pacific is this year’s Asia Pacific Insight Community of the Year. The company won the highly coveted award after impressing the audience at the Asia Pacific Vision Critical Summit, which took place July 23rd in Sydney.

The airline won the award for Cathay Pacific Insights, its insight community of more than 10,175 customers. ABN Impact is the market research agency working with Cathay Pacific. This year’s impressive lineup of finalists also included Bauer Media Group (Australia), Countdown (New Zealand) and Stockland (Australia).

Here’s a look at what Cathay Pacific has been able to accomplish with its award-winning insight community.

Managing product investment

In 2014, the company prioritized design with the goal of delivering better experience for the 31,570,000 travelers who fly in its planes. The insight community has been integral to optimizing key passenger touchpoints.

One example is with the design of its new passenger seats, which previously were tested later in the development process. “The insight community is now enabling collaboration with the customer at multiple steps and with different stakeholders throughout the process,” said Bashuli Sane, product manager of performance measures at Cathay Pacific. In addition to engaging community members to validate concepts of new passenger seat designs, the airline invited customers to workshops and offline testing.

More from Bashuli Sane from Cathay :

“Collaborating more deeply with customers throughout the process and bringing them together with other stakeholders like designers and seat manufacturers simply help deliver a better product in the end. With the investment in products like seats costing millions of dollars, getting the best result for customers is essential for safeguarding the investments Cathay Pacific makes.”

Optimizing sales channels

In 2013, Cathay Pacific embarked on a long-term program to upgrade its sales channels. That meant evaluating all its revenue streams, including website, customer service agents, call centers and mobile apps.

To understand customer pain points and test proposed improvements to its sales channels, the company’s sales and distribution team involved members of its insight community. Overhauling its website, for example, the company engaged customers to decide what existing functionality should be retained and what new design elements needed to be introduced.

“We see the insight community as an ongoing conversation with the people we serve,” says Alex McGowan, general manager of sales and distribution. “This meaningful engagement with our brand gives us richer insight and loyal customers who know they have a genuine stake in the future of our company.”

Refining brand strategy and marketing

When the company launched its global campaign Life Well Travelled, it engaged with customers before, throughout and after launch to maximize the success of the initiative. Through forum discussions, the company gathered feedback on the company’s communications—ensuring that the public was getting the right message and that the company’s positioning was resonating.

The company discovered that having ongoing conversations with customers helps provide a deeper diagnosis than conventional brand tracking alone. Members of the insight community helped evolve and tweak the company’s marketing tactics as the campaign was launched into the market.


With the help of Vision Critical partner ABN Impact, Cathay Pacific uses its insight community to develop a more meaningful relationship with customers. In particular, the community has been beneficial in engaging with frequent fliers—a customer base that is very passionate about providing their input and that know the brand intimately. Cathay Pacific consistently receives positive feedback from frequent fliers, who welcome the opportunity to have their opinions heard.

The insight community is not just a source of feedback for its strategic programs; the company also uses it to make tactical decisions about the customer experience—everything from co-branded food and beverage options to magazine selection in its lounges. In addition to multiple departments leveraging the insight community, the company’s external partners (advertising agencies, design firms and branding partners) have engaged the company’s customers.

"With new technology and innovation constantly changing what we can offer passengers, we need, more than ever, more insights and better collaboration with our customers."
- Bashuli Sane, product manager of performance measures at Cathay Pacific

Ultimately, being able to engage with customers on a regular basis is helping Cathay Pacific navigate the increasingly turbulent airline industry.

“With new technology and innovation constantly changing what we can offer passengers, we need, more than ever, more insights and better collaboration with our customers,” says Sane. “Delivering the best experience for passengers is critical to our ongoing vision to be the best airline in the world.”

From Vision Critical, congrats to Cathay Pacific for all its accomplishments with its insight community and for winning this award!

How to Use an Insight Community to Improve Customer Experience

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Peter Harris

Peter Harris helps brands build authentic customer relationships through technology. Pioneering customer intelligence since 2010, Peter Harris has led Vision Critical Asia Pacific to become the largest customer intelligence software provider, supporting over 140 customer-led brands, in Asia Pacific such as Telstra, Adobe and Cathay Pacific. With deep roots in research and strategy, Peter has championed the future of research and technology across his leadership roles at prominent research organisations, including AMSRS, APRC and GRBN.
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