Friday, 15 June 2018

Free Video Friday! Fireside Chat: The State of Travel with Booking Holdings

As part of a new regular feature on EyeforTravel, we are posting some of the videos from our events every Friday, so you can see what the leaders in travel are thinking about and what the key areas of focus are. To start us off we are looking at EyeforTravel's San Francisco Summit 2018 and a fireside chat with Todd Henrich, SVP - Corporate Development at Booking Holdings. In the interview he reveals how the company sees loyalty, where it is focusing and what will drive growth.



All videos from EyeforTravel's events are available at through our content hub, EyeforTravel On Demand. You can also find a selection of videos from our events and webinars through our YouTube page

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Thursday, 14 June 2018

NEW FREE REPORT: EyeforTravel San Francisco Summit 2018 Round-up

The San Francisco 2018 summit was all about helping travel industry professionals separate the real from the hype. Check out the Round-up to see where the industry is placing its bets for the future.

Click here to view the report. 

EyeforTravel’s San Francisco Summit 2018 brought together the industry to dissect the technological transformations that are constantly shifting the ground on which we stand and to plot a safe path through the change. Read the Summit Round-up now to see what top brands had to say about artificial intelligence, loyalty, mobile marketing, data management, blockchain and more
A host of brands attended the Summit and you can read what they had to say in this round-up, including:
  • Lyft
  • Booking Holdings
  • JW Marriott
  • Expedia
  • Turkish Airlines
  • Accor
  • Hipmunk
  • Utrip
  • Lola

They came to answer a host of critical questions facing the industry, including:
  • What is the true potential of artificial intelligence and machine learning?
  • What does an effective digital strategy look like?
  • Where should a company invest, and how does an organization measure the effectiveness of the strategy?
  • What has been the digital age’s impact on customer expectations?
  • Even with a new set of digital tools, how do traditional business principles still apply?
  • Is the hype behind blockchain real, imagined, or some combination of both? 

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

The Secrets to Using Data for Better Results

 Click to download
Travel brands everywhere are rushing headlong into data and analytics to try and get closer to their customers but what are the keys to success? A new report investigates …

EyeforTravel’s new report series into behavioural analytics is looking at what makes customer tick and how travel brands can use data techniques to improve every part of their sales process. In the first report in the series, Understanding the Travel Consumer, EyeforTravel alongside leading travel brands, is opening up the data processes and techniques necessary to drive insight. Core to this is how to treat the data itself. Here are some key pieces of advice from the report that can help you to unlock the potential in your data.

Concentrate Data
In the report, every travel brand featured advocated consolidating data into centralized systems. This is because it then becomes easier to drive reporting, analytics, automation, and personalization from a single source.

For car hire company Hertz, they realized that they needed a ‘golden record’ for each customer. Ricardo Rangel, senior director of data architecture at Hertz defines this “a single, well-defined version of all the data entities in an organisation.”

First, they had to pool their data before they could run it through a customer matching engine, which has “the capability of searching, indexing and giving back the information about that customer.” Layered on top of this is an “application network” that interfaces across the business to provide a wide variety of services via Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), from alerting about a flat tire or issue with a particular model of car, to giving customers their preferred car type.

NH Hotels moved their property management system, central reservations system, customer relationship management and revenue management solution to the same database and Eurail has one “data warehouse” accessible to all employees via desktops or mobile phones. 

Travel digital marketing expert at McKinsey & Co Del Ross advises looking at your needs and budget – especially for smaller firms – working with a third-party specialist, and holding your data remotely in the “cloud”. “Storage space, speed, access, and security are all important considerations in data strategy,” he advises. “These factors combine to make cloud sourcing more compelling.  Using the principle, ‘only do what only you can do,’ brands should capitalize on the technical expertise of specialty service providers and invest their resources into analytics and gathering actionable insights.”

However, Maria Gómez Bada, manager of analytics and data insights for HomeAway.com, points out that “If you have data internally, you will always have more actions on the data and be able to get more insight. If you have it externally, it’s probably cheaper short-term but you have a black box.”

Ask What Are You Asking?
When it comes to data, it is easy to get lost and find yourself tied up in a tide of requests and dead-ends that don’t lead to actual improvement. The key is to define the requirements in crystal clear terms before setting out. “What we learned … was that we needed to understand the question or the problem that we were trying to solve and our audience so that we could structure the dashboards to serve them,” says Priti Dhanda, director of revenue management analytics at Hyatt. “The properties had very different requirements to the above property people. So, a key goal was how do you use the same data and answer questions for the different audiences?”

Deploy First, Test Later
If you’re looking to expand your organization’s data analytics then the experts in the report recommend getting solutions set up and operating so they can be tested and perfected rather than trying to build a great system from the outset. “It doesn’t need to be perfect [on release] and then we continue to improve it,” says Dhanda. “If we just focus on building that most perfect solution, we would never get there, and we would still be thinking and trying to get even a sample out.”

The testing of systems then becomes critical. “In the CRM space, we test absolutely everything,” said Darrin Rowe, director, customer insights & loyalty at Greyhound Lines speaking at Smart Travel Data North America 2018. “It’s an A/B test for every single thing we do. So, thinking about creative, thinking about copy and subject lines. There’s no magic bullet here, it’s just a ton of A/B testing and figuring out what resonates with our customers.”

According to Steven Consiglio, product performance manager at Booking.com, his organization has found that “It is impossible to even have hypotheses turn out to be accurate in our findings,” which makes testing vital to uncover those unintuitive findings. Therefore, on their site, “The amount of different site experimentations is countless. The experimentation is ever-present.”           

Visualize for Success
Visualization is critical for data-led analysis. As the quantity of data exponentially increases, visual means are frequently the only way to comprehend and extrapolate meaning. Furthermore, data has been found to be far more convincing than just presenting the bald numbers, making it vital for gaining buy-in from colleagues.

“Visualizing does not need to be difficult – it turns difficult content and relationships into understandable information,” says Ina Hoppe, data analyst and systems development manager at Leonardo Hotels. “Pre-think what you want to show, or you will draw sophisticated dashboards no one will use. Ask your teams what they want, and keep it simple,” a sentiment that harks back to Dhanda’s advice when creating a project.  

Let the Law Lead
“I think data is the future of everything that we do and we’re scraping the surface,” says Alessandra di Lorenzo, Chief Commercial Officer, Media and Partnerships at lastminute.com group. “We must never as companies, even as individuals, underestimate the power of data and the importance of managing that data in a compliant way that doesn’t damage the company’s relationship with customers. My answer is [to] probably get some help if you’re not very big, because it’s tricky and even the big players are still learning.”

This is now all the more vital as the European General Data Protection Regulation has come into force and means that customers must agree explicitly to all uses for their personal data, that data must be protected, and they can delete it.

Practical solutions brands can take to comply and still have a strong set of customer data include separating and anonymizing data. Amer Mohammed, head of digital innovation at Stena Line ferry firm says it now splits data into two copies: The first is anonymized, the second is personal. “In the marketing you have personal data where you can identify the individual, in the second we have anonymous, aggregated data,” he told the EyeforTravel Smart Travel Data Summit 2017. “If a customer asks us to delete their data, we only delete the first one. The second we use to get to know our customers.” This allows them to continue drawing conclusions whilst protecting the data and allowing customers to delete it easily.

Click here to download the Understanding the Customer report, part of EyeforTravel’s Behavioural Analytics Report Series. This report features insights from: 
  • Booking.com
  • HomeAway.com
  • Hyatt
  • Hertz
  • Expedia
  • Lastminute.com Group
  • McKinsey & Co
  • Stena Line

Monday, 11 June 2018

A Snapshot (Literally) of EFT Europe 2018

We want to thank everyone that came to EyeforTravel Europe for three days of fantastic speakers giving amazing insights. For us, it's back to the drawing board to plan more great events but for all of you, here are some pictures from the event. See if you can spot yourself or your colleagues and stay tuned for more event coverage, including a post-summit round-up report, more stories and loads of video content. 

Thanks to all of our attendees, 

The EyeforTravel Team 



Tuesday, 5 June 2018

How Travel Brands Should Tackle Attribution


Knowing your customer is critical but complex journeys across multiple devices present travel brands with huge challenges. A new report investigates how travel brands can conquer attribution.

Travel brands should attack the issue of attribution from multiple angles says EyeforTravel’s new Understanding the Customer report, a completely free report, which can be downloaded now. Approaches range from tracking through cookies, data-driven attribution and encouraging customers to log-in to own brand sites and apps, all of which needs to be underpinned by a strong data program that measures changes over time.

Travel brands need to undertake an extensive and multi-faceted approach because attribution requires capturing interactions at so many touchpoints over extended periods and with different devices.

Mobile bookings in particular have additional complexity in terms of attribution, as mobile remains a last-minute channel, with short leads times leaving limited room to build up tracking data. In EyeforTravel’s Mobile Industry Survey 2018, 80% of accommodation business surveyed reported that mobile lead times were shorter, with 58.7% saying that they were much shorter. Just 1.3% found that mobile lead times were longer.

Click to download


This can leave brands reliant on just last touch attribution, particularly when it comes to mobile bookings, and often looking at an incomplete view of their customer’s journey.

Maria Gómez Bada, analytics expert at HomeAway.com, argues that travel firms should fight the tendency to analyse just the last click, and see the whole picture. She believes that Google Analytics default attribution model, which will show you your customer’s last known direct click, gives an incomplete picture. Instead, she proposes data-driven attribution models for most online, complex companies.

“Data-driven attribution understands the value of the whole path, not only considering clicks but also impressions,” she explained. “[For example], a customer has seen your ad in Facebook, doesn’t click on it but recalls your brand, and might come in later through SEO [search engine optimisation] or SEM [search engine marketing]. Data-driven attribution gives a value to each medium and channel, considering clicks and impressions. Not only that, it works with predictive models to try to understand how you can invest in better marketing channels and ultimately get more conversions.”

To do this however, you need a strong foundation of data around your customers. “We’ve implemented a data management platform that basically enables us to very much look at our audience,” says Alessandra di Lorenzo, chief commercial officer, media and partnerships at lastminute.com group. Core to this is tracking, particularly cookies: “We call our cookies essentially unique users who come to our site [and when] altogether, make up our audience. What we do is look at this audience and combine segments… that we then use to personalize all of the messages that pop up on the website. This information enables us to make the customer journey more intelligent and more profiled, and therefore more relevant, we hope, to the unique users coming to browse our pages.”

Combining data from your sites cookies with third-party tracking enhances the potential to build out profiling and increases the accuracy of data-driven attribution. “Access to a person’s behaviour from retargeting sites and affiliates helps us, with a breadth of exposure,” says Steven Consiglio, product performance manager at Booking.com. “A map site, a luxury vacation site, it goes on-and-on. [Through these] you learn increasingly more, because your learning platform is not your own page: it’s wider.”

However, Lorenzo argues that even when armed with a host of information, “Unique identification is pretty much impossible from one device to another. Our solution to this is giving customers a value that brings them to log in… [for] a more tailored experience.… We have implemented all of the social log ins to make it very seamless. It’s about exchanging value and creating something special for our users.”

“Who can argue if a probability-based algorithm is right or wrong unless you benchmark it against another probability-based algorithm or a deterministic approach – which is what you have with a log-in base? This is the power of the Googles and Amazons, Facebooks and eBays who have a massive amount of logged-in customers and can deterministically tell if you are the same person.”

Del Ross, senior advisor at McKinsey & Co and a travel distribution and digital marketing expert, adds that the most important thing is to ensure that your data methods stay the same over time, so you can understand trends. “Behavioral insights have much more commercial and strategic value than transactional data,” he believes. “Transactional attribution is useful, but it is more important that the attribution method be consistent so that changes over time can be understood.  The absolute data is less important than pattern changes, which can reveal shifts in customer preferences and needs.”

Click here to download the Understanding the Customer report, part of EyeforTravel’s Behavioural Analytics Report Series. This report features insights from:

  • Booking.com
  • HomeAway.com
  • Hyatt
  • Hertz
  • Expedia
  • Lastminute.com Group
  • McKinsey & Co
  • Stena Line

Thursday, 31 May 2018

NEW FREE REPORT: Understanding the Travel Consumer

We are proud to announce the launch of a band new free report.
Understanding the Travel Consumer looks at how top travel brands are tackling the challenges of profiling, attribution and analytics to get closer to their customers.


When it comes to human behaviour, deciphering the thought process is a messy business. This is especially so when it comes to travel, as consumers switch across devices and build complex itineraries throughout extended research periods. Travel brands are left with an uphill battle to understand their customers, reach them at the right times and give them personalised products. This is why we are putting together a new report series into behavioural analytics that seeks to demystify the process behind understanding the modern traveller through the application of data and analytics.


This is the first report in this series covers attribution, profiling, and best practice in data storage and interpretation, featuring insights from:
  • Booking.com
  • HomeAway.com
  • Hyatt
  • Hertz
  • Expedia
  • Lastminute.com Group
  • McKinsey & Co
  • Stena Line


Through this free report we seek to uncover how brands can understand the modern traveler to drive higher conversion rates, lower acquisition costs, and ultimately give them the best possible product.This first report in the series covers the data and analysis groundwork that travel brands need to put in place to understand their customers, including:
  • How to successfully tackle the challenge of attribution.
  • What data to gather on consumers and how to build accurate profiles from this data.
  • How to manage your data so that it is well-constructed, legally compliant, and useful to your whole organization.
  • How to present information effectively.
  • How to build a successful, data-led organization.



Sign up to our newsletter to be notified when the next free reports on improving conversion rates and dynamic, personalized pricing are released. 


Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Are You Spending Too Much Marketing Your Travel Brand?


PPC, SEO, content marketing, social media, email marketing, TV ads – it’s easy to watch a travel brand’s marketing budget spiral out of control but it doesn’t have to be that way …

It’s hard to be heard in travel and for many that means spending more and more to try and reach the customer. However, innovative brands in the industry are doing things their way and not only reaching the customer for less but getting them to come back too!

HolidayPirates, a German company started out of a single travel blog, has grown to the stage of having more than 30 million Facebook fans and 20 million visits per month through the power of social media alone. “We don’t invest any money in Google ads, we don’t do TV – no traditional marketing, offline, and so on,” says David Armstrong, CEO of HolidayPirates, who will be speaking at the Eyefortravel’s Europe Summit in London this June. “We only go into social media, our own app of course, but also into messaging.”

He says their recipe for success was based around getting people’s attention on social media and then keeping it through being authentic, transparent, entertaining, relevant and trustworthy.


For HotelTonight, another brand speaking at EyeforTravel Europe that has learnt how to reach customers cost-effectively, they focused on the being relevant to their customers through data-driven operations. “We have hundreds of models running for specific markets, specific days of week, then also for specific segments of users,” said their chief technology officer Sam MacDonnell at EyeforTravel North America. “We dialled in these models to be super accurate. A 90% probability that you’re going to book the results we serve. We have been able to increase our conversion just in the last six months using this system by 15%, and not only for repeat bookers, where we have more data for how they are actually behaving, but also for first time users.”  

They have also focused on their loyalty program, launching a new in-depth rewards system that gives users immediate money-off bookings, with discounts levelling up as consumer spend more. Alongside this they have created a live-chat personal concierge service to cater to customers as they travel. Potential uses include “requests at the hotel itself, so if you want to check-in earlier, check-out later, if you want to have something waiting for you in your room,” says Amir Segall, VP of global supply, up to “local tips about the city, like ‘I want recommendations for a restaurant.” This has created “enormous lift in their engagement says Segall.

Airbnb has also taken a data led approach, using ‘machine learning at almost every step of the user experience,’ says company data scientist Theresa Johnson speaking at EyeforTravel’s Smart Travel Data Summit North America 2018. “So, when a guest comes to search for a place to stay, they are presented with tailored results to them based on our categorizations and collections, based on what we know about them and what we know about the properties, and that is improving all the time.” This has allowed the company to grow to more than 200 million guest arrivals since its founding in 2008 despite a relatively low paid media budget. The company has also announced that it is heading towards a loyalty program, trialling its ‘Superguest’ reward program this Summer.

If you want to hear from these brands and more then attend EyeforTravel’s European Summit. The Summit features many innovative brands who are finding ways to reach the consumer for less and keep them coming back for more, including:
  • Airbnb
  • HolidayPirates
  • Choice Hotels
  • HotelTonight
  • Red Carnation Hotels
  • Hostelworld
  • Rome2Rio
  • Hotels.com
  • Icelolly.com

Join four cutting edge travel conference under one roof and change how travel is sold. Get your ticket to the EyeforTravel Europe Summit 2018 today!