Digitalisation has speeded during the pandemic, with more people relying on the online world for even more aspects of their day-to-day life. During ITB Berlin Now 2021, our CEO Andy shares his thoughts with Phocuswright’s Pete Comeau on how travel companies can capitalise on the digital revolution and transform themselves to come back stronger.

In their interview, they discussed the impact the pandemic has had on the digitalisation of industries, at a time when travel has been brought to a halt. Consumer digital experiences have significantly advanced in the past year, leaving enhanced expectations when they come to book travel.

Predictive analytics
Andy reflects on the impact that new tech has on delivering these new digital marketing and sales experiences: “The pandemic has driven digitalisation in every aspect of our life. And companies have reacted by investing in data and AI-driven automation, particularly systems that let them utilise their existing corporate knowledge and experiences, whilst letting AI do the heavy lifting.”

Quick to point out that artificial intelligence technology is not about relinquishing control, Andy explains the benefits of eliminating time-intensive manual processes, that often lack accuracy, from marketing distribution: “Throw away your old rule book. Institutional knowledge still has value in addressing your audience, but that knowledge needs to be supplemented with AI and a degree of flexibility in what – and how – you communicate. Hard and fast rules cannot get you where you want to go; you need to balance what you know with an open mind and what you don’t know. This will be the core challenge for many companies moving forward.”

‘Averages’ is a central point of conversation, as this only pays lip-service to true personalisation. “If you’re only measuring averages, you can only speak directly to the average person. As the digital thinking continues to build at pace, averages won’t cut it for businesses seeking to thrive. If you keep measuring the same thing, nothing will change. What is the lifetime value of your audience, not just your customers? What is the true attribution to sales and acquisition? Are there people who need an offer to trigger purchase, and – just as likely – are there people for whom offers are a turn-off?” explains Andy. From here Pete and Andy discuss the role of the marketer in testing scenarios and audience assumptions versus using AI to do the heavy-lifting.

“As the world changes how it uses and reacts to the digital landscape, it’s important that travel companies position themselves differently. Throw away the rule book. Reconsider what you measure and who your audience is. With this attitude shift, you’ll be in a position to build back stronger and transform your business for the ‘new normal’,” concludes Andy.

Watch Andy discuss how to use data to personalise the travel shopping and booking experience with Phocuswright’s Pete Comeau. Or catch up here with Andy’s presentation on how precision retailing gives airlines an edge for post-Covid recovery.

Predictive analytics

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