Perhaps airline number crunchers should consider a wardrobe change. Toss aside the necktie and handy calculator. Instead revenue strategists should don a white lab coat and get beakers ready to be filled with more than just numbers.
After all, to the epic entertainment company Walt Disney, revenue management is more than numbers, it’s a science.
During this week’s SabreSonic Customer Sales & Service (CSS) conference in Toronto, Canada, Disney’s Mark Shafer, senior vice president, revenue and profit management, told airline executives they apply their revenue science across all their many brands – they just have to identify constraints specific to each one.
Disney’s science of revenue management analytics transcends multiple lines of business and geography.
“We define revenue management as a quantitative way to solve business problems,” Shafer told nearly 80 airline executives from 25 airlines around the world assembled to learn new and different ways to increase revenues. “It’s about making better business decisions – how to improve your odds of making a good decision.”
Incorporating analytics into the revenue management mix provides huge returns, he said.
“If you don’t pursue analytics today, it’s an opportunity forgone for the future.”
And to illustrate his point, Shafer likened the benefit of using analytics to Jeffrey Ma, the Vegas card counter on which the movie “21” is based. The most basic thing you can do is make business decisions based on experience and gut reaction. But that’s “playing naively.”
Instead you can “count cards” or employ analytics to improve your odds at making better business decisions.
But Disney doesn’t stop there. They employ a Customer Centric Revenue Management model. They define this as using data to better understand your customers, which will ultimately increase conversion and grow profitability. The very thing airlines are trying to accomplish today.
“Growing trust among your customers is a race that has no finish line,” Shafer said. “You need a balance between transparency and relevancy.”