We improved [our website] load times from an average of 6 seconds to just 1-2 seconds. Directus is the perfect choice for us in terms of size, flexibility and usability.
Maria Lucia Peraza
Sr. Manager of Digital Solutions, Copa Airlines
In the dynamic world of aviation, airlines face various technological challenges – at times, all at once.
The industry finds itself in a constant quest to offer passengers a seamless and safe journey despite the intricacies of their operation. In this ever-evolving landscape, technology acts as an enabler that forward-thinking airlines embrace to take the customer experience to higher levels that help them perform their best in an increasingly competitive game.
One major player, Copa Airlines, embarked on a digital transformation journey to deliver outstanding self service experiences empowering customers with the right tools to have an effortless traveling experience.
This approach enables customers to book flights, find information and prepare for travel. To turn this vision into reality, they teamed up with trusted partners like Directus.
Making Modernization a Priority
Established in 1947 and headquartered in Panama City, Copa operates as the flagship carrier of Panama, connecting the most important cities in North America, South America, Central America and the Caribbean.
The airline is a member of Star Alliance, and as such, offers an extensive network of routes and codeshare agreements with other member airlines. Currently, Copa offers over 330 daily scheduled flights to nearly 81 destinations in 32 countries from its Panama City hub.
In 2022, Copa selected Directus as its content management platform for its website, Copa.com. A key objective was to broaden the scope of content management capabilities to include other customer touchpoints.
“We needed a technology that would enable us to scale and distribute content across our different channels,” said Mariana Yepez, Manager of Digital Products. “We also needed to simplify the process of making content changes and updates.”
Copa’s digital team worked with a multidisciplinary committee to evaluate several headless CMS solutions, starting with research and then performing multiple proofs of concept with different products, including Directus, which proved to be the most modern and flexible alternative.
“We had high expectations, and knew Directus would be a strong and responsive partner. Since the beginning of the project they showed high commitment in continuously improving their product,” said Anibal Diaz, who is responsible for creating data modeling and handling all the content used on the company’s content management system for display through various digital platforms.
“During the proof of concept, we really liked the ability that Directus provided, allowing us to create data structures from scratch, and that it's an open source solution with a growing support community," said Diaz.
"Directus was able to work with us and adapt to what we needed from day one."
Fast and Easy Updates, Translations
Today, a team of four works on updating content for Copa.com on a daily basis, and they collaborate with other teams and vendors who develop content to then integrate into Directus.
“Directus made it easy to involve non-technical staff in updating content, as it is very user friendly,” Maria Lucia Peraza, Sr. Manager of Digital Solutions said, as she explained how Copa was able to easily expand their content migration team during the transition to their new website.
Another important feature of Directus for Copa is its multilingual support, as they manage content in four languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese and French.
Directus provides built-in support for multilingual content and data, with the ability to create and manage translations for any field or value.
“Translating content in Directus is really simple, and you can also easily segment your audience to receive tailored content,” Yepez said.
Copa is also leveraging Directus's flexible REST API and its data structures, which streamline the process of connecting a variety of digital products to the backend CMS, and differentiated Directus from other solutions that Copa evaluated.
Copa's Website Load Speed Increases by 5x
According to Peraza, Directus was a key enabler for improving the performance of their website.
“Because we were able to plug Directus into our website, along with other technical design practices we reduced load times from an average of 6 seconds to just 1-2 seconds,” she said.
“Accelerating load speeds was a key goal for us because we are very focused on growing our web sales and servicing.”
Content updates are now significantly faster. Prior to using Directus, what could often take weeks to accomplish can now be completed in a matter of just a few hours or days, depending on the complexity of the change.
Prior to implementing Directus, the team had to use several tools for uploads and content changes.
“Now we can do it all in one place, and it gets distributed to all of our digital channels, enabling us to deliver critical information to our customers with a fast and reliable method,” Yepez explained.
“We Use Directus All Day, Every Day”
Copa’s team will be using Directus as much as possible for various use cases across the organization.
“Over the last few months, we've been focused on stabilizing our new website, but we've definitely considered other Directus functionalities that we can bring onto other users in the company,” Yepez said, adding that Copa is planning to use Directus for marketing content, as well as managing in-flight entertainment and meals information.
Directus could also be used internally to personalize and improve agent experience for Copa call center service agents, by providing tools to facilitate how they answer frequently asked questions, for example.
For Copa, staying at the forefront of airline technology isn’t a luxury – it’s a necessity. With Directus, the team feels like they’ve found the perfect foundation to scale up.
“Directus is the perfect choice for us in terms of size, flexibility and usability, and we have a great deal of expectations with it going forward,” said Peraza.