Transforming the guest’s journey
Founded as a single gas station 60 years ago, Pilot Flying J has grown to become the largest operator of travel centers in North America, with over 750 locations serving more than 1.6 million professional drivers and traveling motorists daily. The company motto is “fueling life’s journeys,” and at any Pilot or Flying J travel center, professional drivers can find overnight parking, showers, a warm meal, WiFi, and a vast array of merchandise. Behind the scenes, IT systems were siloed or connected via one-to-one integrations, making critical data inaccessible. In order to provide a fully personalized and frictionless guest experience, Pilot Flying J needed to adopt an omnichannel strategy, backed by fully integrated systems, that allowed guests to engage with the brand through multiple channels — whether it is checking parking availability and reserving showers on the mobile app or redeeming offers on the web portal.
Developing an omnichannel strategy
Pilot Flying J wanted to build a seamless and enjoyable journey for their guests by:
- Delivering an omnichannel strategy with mobile apps, web portals, and more
- Integrating backend systems with digital customer-facing technologies, as well as Salesforce Sales, Service, and Marketing Clouds
- Implementing new, innovative technologies — such as IoT — to enhance the customer experience
Integrating data to improve the guest experience
To achieve Pilot Flying J's omnichannel vision for delivering personalized, digital experiences, the team had to unlock data from hundreds of siloed backend systems. Using MuleSoft’s Anypoint Platform™, Pilot Flying J replaced legacy middleware and custom code with flexible, reusable APIs. This allowed them to connect a range of backend systems with Salesforce systems, including Sales, Service, and Marketing Clouds.
By taking an API-led connectivity approach to unlocking product, inventory, loyalty rewards, and customer profile data, Pilot Flying J was able to launch an industry-leading mobile app: myPilot.
“The integration is really the hard part of the myPilot app because it has to integrate with our fueling system, our shower system, and our parking reservation system,” explained Michael Rodgers, chief strategy and information officer for Pilot Flying J. “We use API technology to do all that — to integrate into our back office and our point of sale as well.”
The myPilot app saves drivers time and dramatically improves quality of life on the road — key app features include:
- Mobile fueling: APIs have simplified the complex process of diesel fueling, reducing the number of steps drivers need to take at the pump by more than 90%. Using the Customer Profile API, which provides a single view of customer data, the myPilot app can verify the drivers’ billing information, company credentials, and more.
- IoT-enabled parking: Pilot Flying J integrated their reservation system with micro-radar sensors — allowing drivers to view real-time parking availability at select locations along the I-5 corridor.
- Parking reservations: Professional drivers can view total truck parking spaces at a location and the ability to view and purchase Prime™ Parking spots in the app.
- Shower reservations: The mobile app’s integration with Pilot Flying J’s shower system allows drivers to reserve a shower and receive push notifications when their shower is ready. Since last year, the app has seen an 80% increase in shower reservations.
- myOffers: Pilot Flying J uses APIs to deliver personalized offers in-app that are immediately redeemable in-store for popular food and beverage items.
“Using MuleSoft to automatically connect between the Salesforce clouds provided us a huge advantage in being able to tie all of our data integrations together in one platform, allowing us to have the full flexibility and harness the power of Salesforce,” said Tyler Tanaka, Senior Director of Digital and Brand Marketing at Pilot Flying J.
Delivering a personalized digital experience through an application network
With Anypoint Platform, Pilot Flying J was able to save time for both its guests and IT team.
The IT team saves vital development time by reusing APIs for integrations, allowing the company to bring new digital services to market faster.
“Anypoint Platform is critical for us because it allows us to reuse APIs we've already built, reduces risk of writing new code, and allows us to respond to the market much faster than we have in the past,” said Josh Birdwell, Senior Director of Guest Systems and Applications Development. “What our team likes most about Anypoint Platform is that there is not a big learning curve; it is quick to pick up and easy to use.”
“Using MuleSoft allows us to finish the projects faster, which saves us money, and more importantly to deliver speed to market, which means we make money faster.”
Chief Strategy and Information Officer, Pilot Flying J
From the guest's perspective, professional drivers save valuable time through Pilot Flying J’s omnichannel approach, because they can access up-to-date information on their phones, authorize mobile diesel fueling and make reservations in real-time.
“The ability to provide guests with real-time information is crucial to helping them plan their journeys. MuleSoft enables us to connect all kinds of disparate data sources to provide information at our guest’s fingertips,” Tanaka said. “This helps us deliver utility and value to our guests every day.”
Going forward, Pilot Flying J’s IT team will continue to build their application network to improve moments that matter for their guests. The company will also focus on accelerating innovation by extending its network to partner with third-party companies; so far, Pilot Flying J has released its APIs and SDKs to 10 transportation partners — bringing in data from public apps like Waze.
“MuleSoft and Salesforce are at the core of our strategy to deliver great capabilities to our customers and our team,” Rodgers said.
“The sky is the limit with MuleSoft and Salesforce,” Birdwell concluded. “We are only scratching the surface with the products, and there is a lot more information that we can unlock and provide to our guests.”