Context is Everything
by Zoe Robinson

In our last blog, we talked about how travel companies can use what they know about their customers to personalise their sites and offers. But how can they tailor these benefits for anonymous users?

Contextualisation is the answer. While a customer is using your site to do a flight search, they are telling you about the type of customer they are. If they search for flights to Florida with two adults and two children – then it’s probably not a business trip.

If you understand what similar customers in the past have done, then you can predict what your anonymous customer is likely to do.

Taking our example above, if customers with similar searches in the past, have bought lounge access 1% of the time, but have a 5% propensity to buy extra bags, then it’s clear that it makes more sense to push bag ancillaries more strongly to our anonymous customer.

Of course, this kind of calculation can be done for both anonymous and known customers, to really get the most revenue out of each interaction you have with a potential customer.

The great thing about this type of personalisation is that it's unobtrusive and offers value to the customer, without pushing your agenda too hard. But if you can increase sales conversion on your ancillaries the benefits are huge, as it's often where the profit margins are greatest.

This is particularly true of ground products such as hotels, typically the profit margins on hotel rooms are much higher than flights, so this is a great area to focus your contextualisation efforts.

Context can also help with determining when to offer an ancillary. For example, if your data suggests that customers are more likely to enhance their trip with an upgraded meal at the last minute, then that is when you should put effort into advertising this service, for example in a pre-flight email. It also means that you can put less focus on enhanced meals during prime sale, and instead put emphasis on a product you know sells better further from date of travel.

So it's true to say, context is everything if you want to maximise revenues for your company.