Travel Analytics Blog
Four Pillars of Online Conversion
Posted by Sonja Woodman on Saturday, June 2, 2018
The online world and the factors that can influence online conversion in a B2B environment are complex. To unravel the complexity, here at Triometric we have identified 4 key areas of influence that we call pillars. Understanding these pillars represents best practice for B2B online success. The Triometric team often refer to these 4 pillars in presentations and talks to explain how our analytics platform translates raw XML and API performance data into the intelligence that underpins B2B online success. The conversion factor is influenced by many things from the products themselves, their availability, through price, right down to ensuring that information is being served swiftly enough.This article discusses what we mean by the four pillars and the role they play in conversions.
From suppliers through to client-facing websites, the number one issue for all online product providers in the travel supply chain is converting searches into bookings. The requirement in a nutshell is ensuring relevant, attractively priced and available products are being continuously distributed by highly responsive search & booking platforms. Triometric offers a unique B2B API monitoring and analytics platform that delivers the insights and intelligence to do this.
Our diverse platform available via the cloud as well as en-premise is designed for the distribution operations of suppliers such as hotels and airlines as well as intermediaries such as wholesalers, bedbanks and flight aggregators. It is built on the 'Four Pillars of Online Conversion'. Each pillar a solid foundation for addressing the fundamental need to convert searches into bookings. The high look to book ratio has an impact on system performance, responsiveness and the ability to deliver the right product at the right time. A key objective is to reduce this ratio and convert 'lookers' into 'bookers'. To do this everyone involved in the distribution and revenue management of travel products needs insight into:
- Availability and inventory levels
- Prices (dynamically changing in line with offers and purchases)
- Relevance of offers (relating to customer context)
- Performance (of the systems, applications and networks)
Each of the pillars depend on near-real-time data that is actionable to drive business opportunities. Let's look at each in more detail below.
Pillar One: Availability
Having no inventory or not the right inventory available every day accounts for millions of dollars in potential lost revenue opportunities for one travel provider or another. If you are not returning products then you can’t clinch the deal. The Trio platform helps organisations to know:
- Whether inventory being offered matches search traffic demand? (ie whether the right product is showing as available for the right price at the right time?)
- When, why or how search requests fail? The consequences? The value associated with those failures?
For Inventory Managers it is important to know how product availability is matching search traffic demand. A system that analyses live XML based search data (with in-built trigger alerts) enables them to be alerted to "no inventory" & "low inventory" issues in real-time and certainly in time to be able to understand why and do something about it. This means the contracting teams can stay on top of the most searched products and booking values, and take quick steps to convert inventory issues into revenue opportunities.
See a short video of inventory maangement meeting demand in action -- plugging a £7 million inventory gap.
Pillar Two: Price
Distribution and Revenue Managers need insights that give them the opportunities to optimise their channel management and pricing strategies in real-time. An analytics tool that helps them to deal with the complexity of the various dimensions that can determine the ‘optimal price’ of products is the answer. Using data-driven insights helps companies optimise their pricing to deliver the right product to the right category of customer at the right time. For example the platform can be used to:
- Identify and manage any potential pricing and availability discrepancies resulting from the industry practice of caching technology to optimise performance and speed of information delivery.
- Determine which supplier or distribution channel offers best returns in given scenarios in order to understand where the best revenue potential lies enabling margins to be optimised.
Pillar Three: Relevance
Travel companies tend to respond to searches with as many options as possible as quickly as possible often without too much thought on being relevant. But to really succeed in the online environment, making products and offers as relevant as possible becomes a good differentiator.
Segmentation is key to relevance. Understanding the core characteristics and behaviours of customers enables more relevant products and offerings that better fit the search query to be presented. Increased relevance leads to higher conversion rates which ultimately lead to more sales. As customers become more savvy, more fickle and more demanding, using the context of the search to makes responses more relevant has never been more important.
By segmenting customers into groups that are similar in specific ways, it is possible to offer different value propositions to these groups, such as business (short trips or long haul visits), leisure travellers such as families with children, couples, weekenders, etc. Being able to extract context from search and booking data about the customer helps travel suppliers to remain relevant with the right offers, leading to better conversion ratios.
A customer segmentation model allows for a more effective allocation and price conscious allocation of inventory and abto cross sell and up-selling opportunities.
Pillar Four: Performance
Conversion rates and business revenue depend on the speed, quality and resilience of your performance. Performance is indeed a never ending journey which includes reducing latency, maintaining uptime and improving speed and accuracy of responses.
Monitoring the performance of APIs and the web environment is absolutely critical to achieving optimised uptime and making full use of the opportunities to sell. With the ever rising look-to-book ratios and seasonal peaks, travel businesses of all sizes need to be alerted to any performance issues as they arise. Being able to respond swiftly to any degradation can save money in avoiding potential downtime, timeouts, and missed opportunities to sell. At the same time monitoring the flow of requests and replies can identify quickly any potential errors in the messages, or the codes they rely on.
Alerts and dashboard in near real-time with drill down capability can help identify root causes helps swift resolution. Reports can also help identify patterns and trends which help pinpoint capacity issues or upgrade needs.
Want to find out more about how the four pillars of the Trio platform can support your online travel business?