The Virgin way: Why thoughtful touches matter

Virgin Atlantic's team at London Heathrow's Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse
Virgin Atlantic
Joanna Helm - author
by Joanna Helm
22 September 2021

Don’t sweat the small stuff, right? When it comes to your sock that disappeared in the wash, okay, right. But when it comes to creating the most magical, memorable experiences for our customers, we say, wrong! 

With over 50 years experience in business, Virgin has found that it's the thoughtful touches really bringing meaning to an experience.

Virgin Atlantic proudly sweats the small stuff. Whether that’s “scan for champagne” codes in the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse, free ice-cream mid-flight, or the distinctive salt and pepper shakers shaped like miniature aeroplanes, the team makes everything feel like an exciting experience.

A woman holds Virgin Atlantic salt and pepper shakers shaped like aeroplanes, known as Wilbur and Orville
Image from Virgin Atlantic

Richard Branson is especially proud of those little shakers that were costing the airline a small fortune each year due to passengers stealing them off the plane. Rather than cut the expense, the phrase “pinched from Virgin Atlantic” was put on the bottom, birthing an unlikely, but awesome marketing opportunity and signature touch. 

People choose Virgin to share in the magic moments. From day one, Virgin has gone the extra mile for customers and always wants people to have an amazing experience.

Virgin Atlantic's 'Scan for champagne' signs in the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse
Virgin Atlantic

This mentality was best echoed by Virgin Mobile Colombia while trying to first establish itself after launch. The company partnered with local businesses to offer freebies and build brand awareness. But the team at Virgin Mobile Colombia really wanted to show people just how much it cares. 

While sponsoring a music event, concert-goers were sleeping overnight in the cold before Metallica came on the next day. To brighten the mood and make the experience a little more enjoyable, the team got up at 5:30 am and handed out hot chicken broths to a thousand people, regardless of being a Virgin Mobile customer. The result was warm bodies all around and a crowd of excited people chanting “Virgin Mobile”. It was truly one of those magic moments.

A billboard with the text "Llego Virgin Mobile segundos no minutos"
Image from Virgin Mobila Colombia

Virgin Voyages is another company that is creating magical moments for its customers – or Sailors as they’re known onboard. Sailors can use Virgin Voyages’ app to book restaurants, fitness classes and truly personalise their voyage experience. It even controls the temperature and lighting in cabins. And the best part? Give the app a shake and Virgin Voyages will deliver champagne direct to any location on the ship.

Virgin Hotels also uses an app to personalise guests’ experiences at its hotels. The Lucy app does everything from contactless check-in to ordering room service. And through its loyalty programme, The Know, Virgin Hotels makes sure that all of its guests’ favourite things are ready and waiting in the Chamber before they arrive – whether that’s a specific drink in the mini-fridge, or cupcakes to celebrate a special occasion.

A hand holding an iPhone showing the Virgin Hotels app opening a red hotel room door
Image from Virgin Hotels

Each Virgin company pays attention to detail in their own unique way. This history of putting the customer experience first is the foundation of the Virgin brand people know and love. We know it is important to not cry over spilt milk, but we think maybe sweating the small stuff is okay sometimes. 

For more inspiring insight into the world of Virgin, take a peek into Virgin By Design, Virgin’s 50-year history of its truly restless spirit.