While technology of all kinds propels the travel industry forward, the reality is that some things haven’t changed. Customer service still matters most, travelers still want novel experiences, and experts still have a lot to offer that self-service tools don’t.
NB: This is a guest viewpoint by Eric Hallerberg is Sabre’s Country Director UK and Ireland.
Customer service still matters most, travelers still want novel experiences, and experts still have a lot to offer that self-service tools don’t.
Plus ça change…
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Technology, much like life, is cyclical. Things change rapidly, oftentimes changing beyond recognition.
Then at some point, things become familiar: similar challenges, similar opportunities, similar conversations. The realization that the tools have changed but not the objectives.
This brings me to relevancy. Once a currency of yore, relevancy was a corollary for information. Those who had the means had the information.
With that information, relevancy was a high-value currency. Imagine the adventurers returning with never-before-seen spices and fantastical stories. Or the businessman with the latest news by ship, learned before any of her competition.
As the internet exploded, information became commonplace. Or “democratized,” as we say. The whole world’s knowledge, at your fingertips. Yet, once information moved at the speed of light, information no longer became a competitive advantage.
Today, the competitive advantage comes from analysis. Those who process, analyze and act on information first have the advantage.
In pursuit of your slice of relevancy
We’ve established the movement from information as relevancy to analysis as relevancy. Successful travel technologies are able to fuel this analysis. It is in this analysis that lies all truths. In order to stay relevant, this analysis must offer three things:
- It must be timely. You cannot be relevant using a dated analysis.
- It must be accurate. You cannot be relevant using flawed inputs.
- It must be flexible. You cannot be relevant if you are overly rigid.
The opportunity lies in successfully managing to be timely, accurate and flexible – repeatedly.
Springboard into the data lake
Whether Big Data or small data, the data is a necessity. There can be no relevance without it!
The data is the information, the exhaust of countless transactions, intentions, and behaviors. Yet, this data cannot be the best it can be without centralization. It may have once been sufficient to silo data, keeping it separated and sorted. Yet with storage costs a non-issue, data can no longer exist only as individual streams.
The view should be the data lake. Sure, each individual stream fills up the lake. But the lake offers the greatest opportunity to inform cross-channel initiatives, foster collaboration across business units and surface critical insights into customers.
- 95% of data within organizations remains untapped
- 39% of marketers believe data is collected too infrequently or not in real-time
- 39% of marketers say they cannot turn their data into actionable insights
- 26% of organizations do not use real-time, on-site behavior to personalise
- 40% of organizations do not target any customer segments
- 28% of marketers are unaware of which customers to focus on
From Sabre’s ‘Revolution to Stay Relevant’ report
The stats on data are still surprisingly sparse when it comes to the agile use of real-time inputs. Beyond just real-time, many organizations are not nearly as competent in data integration as they want to be. Much of this data remains mired in the mud, unable to find its way to the lake.
The holistic “one version of the truth” is a critical component of data-driven enterprise, and that view only comes from a centralized source. Without visibility, there can be no relevancy.
The revolution to stay relevant
This is not just about technology for technology’s sake. Technology is growing so fast that we need to understand how our travelers behave. It’s not just about doing something cool but about doing something that serves the customer.
This is why relevancy is the most valuable currency of today’s travel technologies. The refrain of “right offer at the right time to the right person” is a well-worn mantra.
Even large organizations like Sabre, which were pioneers in the creation of an entire industry, must remain relevant through listening to customers and delivering the technology that powers tomorrow, today.
The revolution lies in this pursuit, as only the relevant not only survive, but thrive!
NB: This is a guest viewpoint by Eric Hallerberg is Sabre’s Country Director UK and Ireland, writing on behalf of Sabre Insights.
NB: Click here to read “Mobile in Travel: The End-to-End Impact”. (No email address required. To download, right-click.)
The report is the first in a series of joint initiatives from Tnooz and Sabre designed to get under the skin — (or should that be screen?) — of mobile.
Join a free webinar to chat about the report, featuring Sabre and Expedia. It’ll take place on Thursday, October 6. The idea is to explore the how and why of mobile — most of us are familiar with the what — and the event will allow for a lively question-and-answer session.