Questioning the travel industry status quo, one blog post at a time

Archive for the ‘Personalization’ Category

 

In my last post, I told you how technology is changing your conversations with hyper-connected customers. I also promised to tell you what your biggest asset is.

You might think your biggest asset is your airplanes, or your people, or your newest business class seats. But no, the most vital asset that any of us in the airline industry have in our relationship with customers is “The Offer.” Without the right offer, nobody buys and nobody stays loyal. Without the right offer, you lose the relationship and the revenue.

The offer is what flows from you to your customer throughout this conversation and this relationship. The offer is truly your biggest and most important asset.

The concept of an offer is not new, of course. Offers have always existed. But in the past, an offer was a price on a product or service, and everybody who came to shop in your store – or even your website – generally saw the same prices or close to the same prices as your competitors.

Today, the offer is complex. In fact, its every bit as complex as the customer relationship you are in now. Every offer needs to be personalized and optimized – created specifically for a specific situation, person, product, and service. In other words, every offer is unique; just like people are unique in their own ways; just like every customer you have is unique. You could even say the offer has its own anatomy, or DNA. Every offer is unique and created dynamically in real time.

Think about it this way. Every single time you interact with your customer, a new strand of DNA – a new offer – is created. And what goes into the manufacturing of this offer? A lot!

We’re talking about Merchandising, Dynamic Pricing, and Predictive Analytics. We’re talking about loads and loads of data! There’s customer data – things like demographics, shopping and buying history, and loyalty. There’s data about your products and services. What’s the aircraft or the load factor on the flight, and how many premium seats are left? These might impact what you offer and for how much. There’s also data that comes from Predictive Analytics. What is this traveler’s propensity to buy this particular product?

All of this data is assembled and analyzed, and an impactful offer is dynamically calculated in real time. Hopefully, this unique offer delights the traveler and makes you some money in the process. This is the future of Revenue Management, and it’s the holy grail for the world’s leading airlines.

And guess what? Nobody except you – as the supplier with access to all of this data and intelligence – can ever create an offer this good or this impactful. You can’t outsource this to a third party or a GDS, or even a PSS – because they don’t have all the data! They are not in this specific, hyper-connected relationship. It’s you, and only you, creating your offer – your biggest asset. Think about it!

Of course, you can also request an invitation to attend our exclusive event dedicated to technology for airline-controlled offers in Miami, Florida, April 5-6, 2017. Visit farelogixoffersymposium2017.com/ for more information.

I truly love this industry, especially the airline industry, and most especially the airline distribution subset. It is chocked full of opportunity, drama, tension, and lots of industry panels talking about how things need to change and get better.

So, the other evening I put on my fuzzy-toed bunny PJs, microwaved some popcorn, and curled up with my laptop to watch a rerun stream of a panel about airline distribution that was held just a day before in Beijing, China during the annual IATA conference.

http://www.iata.org/events/agm/2012/Pages/panel-airline-distribution.aspx

The panel included a full stage of industry execs from airlines, GDSs, and Google. Oh this is gonna be good….some notable heavyweights in the industry are poised to get it on! And get it on they did…in the form of a thought-provoking discussion focused largely on the 60 percent of airline distribution that goes through the travel agency channel. I thought I would attempt to characterize and share with you some major takeaways after 59 minutes. Here we go. Read the rest of this entry »

This is not a question. It’s a statement of reality. The concept of personalization exists in our daily lives because we, as consumers, demand it and will continue to demand even more of it. Why? Because it creates a better customer experience whether we are buying books, a car, or travel. In the travel space (with the notable exception of the airlines), personalization has been with us for years—well before the Internet.

© moneymaker11 - Fotolia.com

Way back when, we used to order up a hotel room by contacting the hotel reservations center using an analog voice transmitter (a phone, I think it’s called), and we experienced personalization. We entered into an analog dialogue and were offered choices: a king bed or two queens, smoking or non-smoking, breakfast included or not. Not necessarily the most efficient process, but there it was—personalization, plain and simple. The Internet hasn’t given us personalization; it’s just made it cooler, easier, and much more sophisticated. Hold on to your hats, but thanks to robust databases, user profiles, and CRM, we have evolved into the era of the digital dialogue between buyer and seller. We now get to see the 360 poolside room view before we buy and we are electronically offered a variety of packages and services based who we are, what we want, and dynamic product availability. Read the rest of this entry »

Rearden Aims to Limit Choice.” Whoa. When I read that Beat headline, it sounded like a bad thing. Don’t take away my choice! But it’s kind of like saying Amazon limits choice because it offers me recommendations when I log in. This “limited choice” is actually just personalization, which I think is a very good thing!

The only shock is that it’s taken the travel industry so long to come around. What Rearden has done is innovative and efficient. If I only stay at hotels with swimming pools, this tool will only return hotels with pools in the search results. No need to return results of hotels I’ll never stay at!

The amount of time saved is beneficial enough, but then add on the level of personalization provided and Rearden is really on to something.

So technically, yes, it limits the total number of choices, but the choices it’s eliminating are ones I don’t want anyway because this tool knows what I like! Relevant search… Brilliant!