"All companies know what they sell - but they don't know what they don't sell," says Josep Maria Gomis, Travel Solutions Architect, at Datumize. He suggests that travel brands can grab uplifts in conversions quickly by monitoring simple elements such as geographies for where requests are received. "When we deployed our solution with one of our clients five years ago, for example, we found that the first region they received requests for was Spain." The sales director knew this already, and he was also blasé about the discovery that the second most common type of request was for inventory in France. But the fourth region - to his astonishment - was China. "He said - 'you are wrong - we are not selling in China!'" says Gomis. "And we said, 'you are not selling because you don't have a product, but this is the fourth most popular market for which you receive requests. You should have a product for them! We consider this a lost sale.' And after a month they started offering products for China. Profits went up."
Another way of finding these lost sales and improving business performance quickly through monitoring requests is looking at the languages used: "One of our customers discovered that people were looking for products on its Polish webpage but typing in queries in the German language," says Datumize founder Nacho Lafuente. "This might seem like a stupid case but it's tens of thousands of euros that you are not converting. If you are looking for 'Crete', a Greek island, on a Polish page, then the result is not found." Analysing requests can find that some customers are not finding products that you have available because of a language gap. Not every destination is the same in every language, which leaves an obvious measurement metric to judge whether the offering matches what your clients are searching for.
Demand-based analytics create opportunities to match a brand's product with the true picture of what customers want and are looking for.
Measuring relatively simple metrics, such as those above, also gives brands an opportunity to search for patterns and critically when anomalies occur in those patterns. For Spanish tour operator W2M, which receives 250 million availability requests per day, finding the mismatches has been a key driver of business performance. W2M has set up some automatic alarms to flag up higher-than-expected error ratios, so the IT team can respond immediately. "We went from a 10% level of error to under 5%," says Ernesto Sigg Rodríguez, head of clients and supplier performance. "I would say that represents between 5% and 10% growth in terms of sales," which has made major difference to his business where margins are very slim.
Making dynamic changes and working across a business to implement them requires constant inputs, says Lafuente. "When you are dealing with a highly competitive business such as travel, margins are so low that they need to squeeze [every] euro," he says. "It's not only about having a general understanding or perception of how things are going. You need to photograph every single minute and have alarms for things if they break certain thresholds."
Demand-based analytics promise a step-change in travel brands' capabilities, unlocking huge insights that will allow brands to better target consumers, build superior products and adjust faster to changing patterns. To understand how to unlock the value contained in demand-based data, download the Understanding Customer Behavior Through Demand-Based Analytics white paper now! It includes:
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