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How Travel Suppliers Can Use a Customer Data Platform To Improve Direct Bookings

Hotels, airlines, and car rental firms all share a similar goal: increase direct bookings from travelers. Direct bookings are when a person reserves their travel through a channel owned by the travel supplier. Direct bookings have a profound impact on profitability because they:

  • Increase the opportunity for ancillary sales
  • Decrease the commissions paid to online travel agencies (OTAs)
  • Decrease global distribution system (GDS) booking fees

New capabilities have emerged over the past few years that can give travel suppliers more power to control their direct bookings. Customer data platforms (CDPs) provide real-time access to robust consumer profiles across all channels. It’s now possible to make strategic, real-time decisions about how to market to customers by dynamically segmenting them based on their behavior.

While several travel suppliers have implemented customer data platforms or are in the process of doing so, the major hotel chains and car rental firms with whom we have spoken has yet made the connection between real-time consumer behavior and retail pricing.

Why is this kind of dynamic segmentation so important? Because consumers shop multiple times across various channels when shopping for travel. But travel suppliers treat this rate shopping as independent events, even though it’s the same person.

A customer data platform can help suppliers see how many rate shops an individual person is doing across the suppliers’ owned channels. Customer data platforms like Blueshift’s SmartHub CDP can then segment consumers based on that behavior. For example, customer segments might look like these examples:

  • “Shopped mobile and/or web 3 or more times, then booked on an OTA”
  • “Loyalty program member shopped 3 or more times and did not book”
  • “Purchased ancillaries twice in last 18 months, shopped without loyalty number but did not book”

Because a customer data platform is constantly updating these segments in real time, the strategies used to improve conversion can be measured by tactic for each dynamic segment.

Responding to customers’ needs in real time is likely to be far more effective than a loyalty program, and even a small market share shift in direct bookings can have a big impact on the bottom line.

To learn more about the benefits of a customer data platform for travel suppliers, schedule a demo with a SmartHub CDP expert at Blueshift today!

Chartis.io is a marketing technology consultancy focused on helping brands activate data to create and optimize digital solutions that drive customer acquisition and engagement.