Is your holiday a happy accident, or a carefully planned experience to maximise business revenues?
Updated: May 30
How much of your great holiday experiences come down to how well your holiday provider uses your data?
Being exposed to relevant destinations and offers via marketing channels that drive you to book your next holiday
Incorporating the weather feed for your destination to build excitement for some decent weather, and also pack appropriately
Receiving your favourite ice cream whilst watching a movie on your flight
Getting recommendations for local gems whilst exploring on your city break
There are some fantastic use cases of how data can improve your holiday experience from the point of booking through to landing back on home soil (and beyond to your next booking and the cycle begins again). In this blog, we are going to look at some of the ways businesses in the travel sector are using data to maximise customer experience, loyalty and revenue, and achieve their business goals.
Airlines and holiday providers use vast amounts of data to promote holidays to consumers, matching the demand and supply of a route or package, and looking to meet (and exceed) customer needs better than their competitors.
Here are 4 ways we see airlines and holiday companies using data to improve customers' experiences and drive commercial impact to their business:
1. Understanding travel patterns to support yield management and promote relevant packages
Analysing browsing, quote and booking data to understand which destinations are top locations at different times of the year, and when booking lead time becomes important. For instance, does a long-haul holiday require a longer booking period than a short-haul city break? The general patterns are that you will see your next year's holiday inspiration up to a year before you want to travel, and short-haul city breaks are always-on promoting the ability to hop on a plane when inspiration strikes.
Driving consideration and bookings significantly ahead of time also supports yield management from the business perspective and helps identify early risks, such as insufficient demand on particular routes or packages that can be addressed with marketing activations.
TUI has a lovely functionality that enables customers and prospects to build their own brochure - this captures a vast amount of information on what type of holiday the customer wants that can be used to model recommendations to help maximise the browsing to booking conversion.
2. Surfacing customer hidden gems, photos and reviews to showcase the hottest finds in a destination ensuring prospects and customers are both inspired and booking
Analysis of user-generated content and social data can help identify hidden gems that show customers you are an expert and have your finger on the pulse of travel experiences. This enables travel businesses to show they are able to meet their customers' needs better than their competitors which will aid both loyalty and retention.
easyJet has an “inspire me” tool that incorporates user-generated content to showcase destinations from the travellers' perspective. Whilst we cannot see what is under the bonnet, you can start to see how this data can be used to deliver a great customer experience - analysing the filters selected, the destinations browsed and the content available to surface more relevant inspiration across multichannel to drive the booking and subsequent fantastic holiday experience - with user-generated content being fed back to easyJet to continually build their content library.
3. Making the pre-departure process as seamless as possible to optimise ancillary revenues
A universal, unstated truth, is that consumers do not enjoy the pre-departure window (based on an informal survey amongst friends!). There is a lot of admin to cram in (and more so in a covid/post covid world) so airlines and holiday companies develop highly personalised customer journeys to make the process as seamless as possible and reduce any frustration at departure.
It is also a fantastic opportunity to encourage upsell of ancillary products and services to optimise customer value and revenue. Using data to identify who is likely to purchase ancillary products and services such as lounge access, car hire or insurance (amongst others) enables businesses to target relevant customers in the pre-departure window, surfacing relevant content at the right time in the context of the customers' booking.
Singapore Airlines has been on a digital transformation journey to take the friction out of the customer experience using Salesforce technology, driving better customer experiences through centralised digital solutions but also by empowering employees with access to information to keep the positive experiences across human and digital touchpoints.
4. Achieving the optimum revenue from each booking
Revenue management is a key part of any travel business - and it needs to look outside just 1st party data. 3rd party data and open source data such as local cultural events and school holiday schedules enable dynamic pricing to optimise revenue at peak holiday periods. As a parent with school-age children, this is incredibly frustrating, but from a business perspective, it is a very clever use of data to maximise revenue.
Centre Parcs is an oft-cited example at the school gates of extreme pricing. But this use of data to model demand, supply and pricing ensures a consistently high occupancy rate whilst maximising revenue. And the customer experience when you are visiting a village is powered by data which helps drive loyalty and repeat bookings. This combination has proven to be very successful for Centre Parcs.
Go to gate….
You can see that there is so much opportunity for collecting and using data in the travel industry to drive best-in-class customer experiences and maximise business revenues. And these use cases are not unique to the travel industry alone. There are many learnings from how this industry uses data to achieve its goals that can be applied to other sectors.
Start with the goals you want to achieve and design a data strategy to support these goals. You may need to track “new” data, invest in expertise and technology to make the data available and actionable or design dashboards to monitor the impact your decisions are having. Some of these initiatives are quite meaty but a good data strategy will be tailored to your business context to make it a reality. The main thing is to start.
MoJo works with many businesses to design pragmatic, usable data strategies to aid a business's growth. Get in touch with us today to discuss how we can help you.