Billions of unique experiences
I've always been fascinated by discretionary spend sectors like travel, lifestyle, and retail - which is why I chose to specialise in this space several years ago. In industries where every single transaction is unique, the opportunity for technology to shape the customer experience every time is huge.
In both my current role (Ten Group) and my previous ones (including Global Blue, Blue Rubicon, and WPP) I've held responsibility for crafting these experiences - leading product teams that build digital solutions for flights, hotels, dining, entertainment, ticketing, retail, exclusive offers, events, loyalty, and incentives.
The power of technology - specifically mobile, search, social, and data - in these areas is phenomenal. In less than a decade, almost every aspect of travel and retail (for example) has changed beyond recognition. My task - both now and when I was consulting - is preparing for what's next, which is something that excites me every day.
- Digital product creation
- Premium customer strategy
- Packaging and bundling
- Connected retail
- Up-sell / ancillary revenue
- Data and modelling
- Transactions and payments
- International tax free retail
- Travel retail
"One more night"
"We're a mid-size chain of independent luxury hotels. In the USA, our primary market, our guests stay with us for an average of 2.1 nights. We'd like to get this to 3.0 next year, but have no marketing budget as the hotels are independently owned and operated."
After initial research confirming that cost wasn't the primary barrier to spend for this company's mass affluent customer base, I created a data plugin for their booking site that flipped the traditional up-sell on its head. Rather than promoting a third or fourth night based on a cost reduction, we focused on "Reasons to stay", which presented a aggregated and curated reasons to stay an extra night. I designed an engine that combined social media content (Facebook Connect), content scraping, and data already captured through the hotel's loyalty program to serve contextually relevant suggestions. "Stay Monday too and catch the big game". Or "Don't miss Bloomingdales' exclusive sale preview - stay until Sunday." And "We have exclusive tickets to Wicked on Tuesday - are you sure you want to go home?" etc.
The three month beta trial delivered exceptional results, with the sample group's average guest night total climbing from 2.1 to 3.4 nights.
Note: The image shown is not connected to the case study client, and is shown for illustrative purposes only.
"Our conversion model for upgrading passengers from Economy class to Business class is starting to break - due mostly to a rise in indirect bookings and a slump in card-based loyalty, which combine to mean we have much less information on passengers. Can big data help?"
I built a data science team in London that analysed the behaviours of passengers in four distinct groups: those who paid to fly Business and stayed loyal to one airline; those who shopped around for the best Business class fare; those who paid for Economy class tickets and upgraded with miles / points; and those who had always been Economy passengers but had recently received an upgrade to Business. We then matched all passengers with commercially available behaviour data and a control group of others who demonstrated loyalty in other sectors but not air travel. From there we built a 'propensity model' algorithm (that plugged in to the airline's existing data set) to ascertain likely behaviour after an upgrade - i.e. encourage future increases in spend through conversion to Business class.
We identified a multi-thousand group of passengers who had never been upgraded, but who we believed were statistically likely to 'convert' following a complimentary journey. The result was a conversion rate in excess of 25%, which was double what the airline had seen previously.
"Help us build a platform to act as a premium alternative proposition to Airbnb, using the best infrastructure and technologies."
I worked with this hungry (former hotel) management team to prepare a proactive strategy and product roadmap - with view to obtaining a seven-figure seed round for its new take on non-hotel accommodation at the upper end of the market. Building a development team and hiring a UX and Design capability from scratch, I delivered an 18-month product roadmap and aligned customer acquisition model.
The business received funding, in the 95th percentile of its valuation range. It is due to launch in 2017.