November 2014, Amsterdam
5 ways to keep your eye on the big data ball
Big data may to date have generated more buzz than fresh business, but it isn’t a fad and steady steps backed by clear objectives really can yield benefits. Mariam Sharp reports
There was plenty of discussion about big data and analytics at the recent Travel Distribution Summit, Europe. Here we report back with five top tips from this year’s speakers and sponsors.
5. Recognise that big data is more than just a fad
Leveraging insights from the plethora of information available can help inform the important business decisions you need to make.
Pascal Clement, Head of Travel Intelligence, Amadeus says: “Big data is arguably the greatest opportunity in a generation for travel firms to embrace the changing structure of data and maximise its use. Big data is game-changing as it can empower travel companies of all kinds to enhance their operations and offer their customers a more personalised, tailored journey options.”
Big data is arguably the greatest opportunity in a generation for travel firms to embrace the changing structure of data and maximise its use.
Pascal Clement, Head of Travel Intelligence, Amadeus
So don’t get lost in the fact that it’s a hot topic and write it off as a fad.
4. Use big data to know your customers
So where to start? Rene Frederiksen, International Webmaster, DFDS Seaways has these suggestions:
- Start with the low hanging fruit
- Use your data to know and understand high spending customers who deliver the highest margins
- Know your frequent travellers and their average spend per trip
- Get to know trends and focus on the changes you want to see.
- Know what you want to achieve: without purpose you can spend lots of time looking at analytics without achieving anything.
3. Increase your earnings
Daniel Waisberg, Analytics Advocate, Google likens using analytics is like playing snooker: you can either do it as a hobby to kill time or become a skilled world champion snooker player like Ronnie Sullivan and earn money from it. Waisberg says its important to segment your customers, after creating your business objectives, then work with a web analyst and a user experience designer to look at trends rather than data points. By doing this you can segment your customers and create tests to understand how to improve your engagement with them in the future.
Analytics is like playing snooker: you can either do it as a hobby to kill time or become a skilled world champion snooker player like Ronnie Sullivan and earn money from it
Daniel Waisberg, Analytics Advocate, Google
2. Improve the customer experience
So once you know your customer segments then what? Catalin Ciobanu, Director Innovation & Big Data Analytics, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, recommends delivering time limited, in-depth projects as part of a ‘big data’ strategy.
As an example, Ciobanu points to a stress index that has been created to identify where the pressure points are in a customer’s journey. Each trip was seen as a collection of 22 activities. Using an equation of Stress = Intensity x Duration, surveys were used at each stage of the travel experience, to measure how stress was perceived at each stage.
One insight was that women perceived the same situations as more stressful than men. This had provided useful pointers as to what could be improved and for whom.
1. Know how to catch the ball
Joseph Bernat, former chief revenue officer, Odigeo Group says: “When asked, customers say one thing and then act in a different way”.
So he recommends that firms “let the data do the talking”. Like other speakers he stresses that focusing on what to measure is key. “There are two ways we can catch a ball - we can consider all the physical properties such as wind speed, velocity, the arc of the projection or we can just keep our eye on the ball.”
Know what you need to measure to grow your business and use ‘big data’ to focus on that priority.
To gain important insights about how the travel industry is using big data or analytics join us at the Smart Travel Analytics & RM Summit 2014 in Amsterdam (November 24, 25) or sign up to access our digital asset library.
Guest columnist Mariam Sharp is a business consultant focusing on projects that promote international exchange. She can be found on LinkedIn and Twitter