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Icelandair improves automation, workflows and localization with Contentstack

Icelandair needed to design, develop and launch a new website that could easily support their modular approach to content design.

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reduction in backlog issues week-over-week
faster delivery rate for translations
month migration from a traditional CMS
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After years of using VYRE Unify web CMS and dotCMS, Icelandair realized that they needed to adopt a modern CMS and its capabilities to answer the increasing demand for personalization and omnichannel content delivery. After evaluating 15 CMSes, Icelandair chose Contentstack headless CMS as the preferred vendor.

The challenge

In 2015, Icelandair launched Digital Labs, a new business development unit. The department’s goal was to introduce a digital mindset and culture to Icelandair. A major initiative was to design, develop and launch a new website for the airline.

Having initially adopted VYRE Unify as its web management platform and then migrating to dotCMS, it became clear that the open source platforms were unable to meet Icelandair’s needs. DotCMS created more problems than it resolved. For starters, it was unfit to support Icelandair’s modular approach to content design, its batch publishing often took 30-40 minutes to complete, and the lack of webhooks made it difficult to connect with different applications. Additionally, dotCMS cotinually applied hotfixes, which inevitably caused system-wide malfunctions when even the smallest site updates had to be made.

I don't have to depend on the developers to do everything. I can go in and make the changes instead of them having to do all the work. Simplicity in the UI, both for content editors and technically savvy people, has helped us.

Hallur fiór Halldórsson | UX Writer and Content Designer

The solution

Icelandair chose Contentstack's headless CMS over 15 other platforms to replace dotCMS because of its enterprise-level features, including white-glove customizations, implementation workflows and powerful APIs and integrations.

From planning to implementation, it took Icelandair just three weeks to migrate from their previous vendor. Since moving to Contentstack, Icelandair has successfully simplified integrations between the airline and its translation platform. As a result, Icelandair’s content managers are able to manage translations for 12 languages and 16 locales without ever leaving the CMS. They can send entries for translation directly in the CMS by simply publishing them to a separate environment and selecting the desired languages. When the translations are ready, the content system updates the environment's entries as localized versions.

Another significant achievement for Icelandair is being able to implement automation to make publishing more effective and efficient. Not only is the Icelandair content team able to publish in a more frequent and timely manner without any technical issues, but they’ve also cut the time it takes to push out promotions by over 90 percent.

Icelandair has over 20 content editors and nearly as many developers working within Contentstack at any given time. The platform’s powerful user role management features have made collaboration seamless.

Content Center of Excellence

To fully leverage the power of composable technology, the company’s content team has become a Center of Excellence. Working with Contentstack, this team manages content types and modular content blocks that can be easily reused and repurposed across different content types, pages, and channels. These content blocks can be combined in different ways to create customized pages and campaigns, without the need for extensive coding or development work.

The Center of Excellence coordinates content creation and regular website updates as well as providing guidance, training, and support to other teams and content editors in the organization, helping them to improve their processes, increase efficiency, and achieve better results. The core content team is in the Marketing department and is based in Reykjavik, Iceland, while the other content editors work in different departments and are often based in overseas offices. The Center of Excellence has improved the brand’s content quality, turnaround time, and consistency of delivery across all digital channels, synchronizing the content strategy with internal processes and brand guidelines.

DotCMS was not natively headless, and the system did not allow you to save your work and preview the results. Anytime you posted a blog or a page, you couldn't work on one locale and then push that up; you'd have to wait until you were sure that no one was working on the item in other languages. It pulled everything — all locales, all relationships. It took forever.

Hallur fiór Halldórsson | UX Writer and Content Designer

The results

  • 90% decrease in time it takes to push out promotions
  • Creative and technical teams can now work together seamlessly
  • With the Content Center of Excellence, resolution time for backlog cases for website content maintenance has gone down from weeks to days or hours

  • Campaign pages are created at least weekly, compared to once a month previously
  • The content team can manage 12 languages for 16 locations without leaving the CMS


Founded in 1937, Icelandair is the largest Iceland-based airline and a member of the Icelandair Group. Icelandair provides up to 600 flights per week and serves as many as 12,000 passengers each day on both sides of the Atlantic.


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