BY

The reality of today’s world is that traveller’s expect personalised service tailored by where they are, what they are doing and through any device. In this new reality, to be a successful travel retailer, it is crucial to keep in touch with customers across their entire travel journey and maintain control of the booking path. And the only way to do this is through leveraging customer data.

Companies with a data-first enterprise strategy have proven to be more profitable than their laggard counterparts[1] and utilising this customer data in real time to execute a personalised, seamless travel journey experience may have previously sounded idealistic, but that is no longer the case. During the last decade the cost of data storage and other related technology has decreased significantly and capacity has grown by 175% annually[2], making data driven retailing a viable option for all businesses. This paves the way for agencies to begin earnest investments in personalisation technologies and techniques to empower their customer-centric sales and service capabilities.

A recent study conducted by Sabre found that better use of booking data is now the highest rated priority among the region’s corporate travel management practitioners. Almost half (46%) of those surveyed across Asia Pacific in 2015 see data analytics as a new differentiator and want the business intelligence both for their clients and themselves. The reason is personalisation: 44% share the view that customising their agency’s response according to the traveller’s profile will become a much more important requirement in the short-term[3].

“Customers expect companies to know them better than their neighbours and engage with them in a very personalised fashion. The good news is that digital technology allows companies to individualise each customer connection at scale” Bernd Fauser, UK Sales Director, Google UK Ltd

 

Meeting customers rising expectations is quickly growing in priority for agencies shifting focus to be more customer centric. To do this agencies need to fully understand their customers and by analysing past behaviours, interactions and stated preferences they are able to deliver personalised products and services that are relevant throughout their travel journey. Market leading agencies are those that offer connection, context and convenience in real time across any device. This is supported by recent research by PhoCusWright confirming that 61% of consumers said that they would like more information that better fits their personal preferences.[4]

 

3 WAYS YOU CAN MAKE THIS A REALITY?

Get Profiling

Having a master customer profile is essential in being a customer-centric retailer. You need a 360-degree view of your customer (and potential customers) attributes such as contact information, demographic and psychographic segments, interests, and stated preferences. The value of the customer is also important. A full and accurate view of a customer’s lifetime and potential value would source data such as total revenue, contribution to margin, ancillary purchase history and loyalty-program information.

Sabre Profiles changes the way you interact with customer data. This robust profile tool gives you a relational database with access to over 1,600 profile data elements which provides a centralised and structured profile data. With the right tools you can manage customer data better than ever before and enable real personalisation and relevance to begin to anticipate their behaviour and needs.

Use Mobile & Online to facilitate a personalised dialogue

Mobile is a convenient and effective avenue that can be used to facilitate that personalised dialogue. Even after a travellers has booked, there are still three or four possible customer touchpoints which present opportunities for further cross and up-sell.

TripCase, is Sabre’s award winning web and mobile app which gives travellers a single place to easily manage all the details of their trip. With the ability to send your travellers push notifications during their trip, it is a robust mobile solution available free to all Sabre connected agents today. Your travellers gain access to their personal itineraries, eInvoices, eTicket receipts, flight notifications, road maps, weather forecasts and if any changes occur to flight schedules, travellers will be notified directly on their smartphone or wearable device.

Social networks and online communities also provide significant opportunity for inspiring customers. Travel retailers must go where their customers are. Key to this is to provide a complete, compelling and seamless online shopping experience via your shopfront or office, website and other devices, such as mobile phones and tablets. Follow that up by adopting expert retailing strategies and successful outcomes will not be far away.

Sabre offers a host of online booking tools suitable for agencies of all sizes and segments. These solutions enable you to deliver a homogenous cross-device experience to your traveller’s.

Learn how to make Air Merchandising work for you

In travel, revenue no longer just consists of just airfares and hotel stays. There is a whole host of other revenue streams available for those travel companies that think like retailers. Increasing complexity in travel planning creates tremendous opportunities for agencies to differentiate themselves. Instead of referring customers to their competition (booking trips through direct channels), the increasing purchase options are a perfect opportunity for agencies to deliver additional value to their customers and demonstrate their expertise.

With Sabre Branded Fares you can easily shop and book the airlines’ branded fares in the same air pricing and shopping applications that they use every day so you can differentiate your offering and be a customer-centric retailer of all merchandising options. We are committed to transparency about the merchandising content available in the Sabre system so see the latest list of airlines offering this solution through Sabre here.

Additionally a lot of the time travellers do not have a set destination in mind when planning trips and prefer to search by budget, region or interest/activities. Techniques like employing intelligent and searchable promotions can make a significant impact to inspiration by increasing the discoverability of relevant offers and helping you to create a more personalised travel experience.

Sabre has launched the functionality for Inspirational Shopping through our APIs which gives our agents the ability to search by budget, theme and region to explore possibilities. All designed to help agents differentiate themselves and merchandise their offering.

SUMMARY

We acknowledge that establishing genuine personalisation can be time-consuming process, but at the heart of it all is the idea that machine learning will help speed up and improve the personalisation process. The trick is to have the right technology and get the right information from your customers (and potential customers). And it’s not a question of if you should do this, the proof of its value is clear, the question is how you will implement this for your business. Our vision at Sabre is to transform our clients into successful retailers through technology. By helping you to determine new opportunities to personalise your travellers experience, and facilitating fast and efficient delivery of more customised experiences and product choices – spanning the full traveller journey.

 

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[1] Customer-Centric Airline Retailing, Sabre Airline Solutions, 2016
[2] Data Storage – then and now, ComputerWorld, 2014
[3] Sabre Asia Pacific Corporate Travel Practices Survey, Sabre Travel Network, 2015
[4] Identifying Early Adopters for Emerging Digital Travel Services, PhoCusWright, January 2016