How To Maintain Success In The Online Travel Space –... In our second article on “how to maintain success in...

How To Maintain Success In The Online Travel Space – Part 2
In our second article on “how to maintain success in the online travel space”, we focus on another trend identified in
the recent PriceWaterhouseCooper’s research report, namely, the changing profile of the consumer. This article
explains how our Sell-It Suite reservation system helps companies implement strategies to cope with and take
advantage of this.
The Consumer’s Profile Is Changing – How To Create A More Targeted Approach
The consumer’s profile is changing 1
As well as experiencing pressures on price coupled with strong growth in demand, online travel providers are also
facing ongoing rapid change in the behaviour, profile and habits of the online consumer. This in turn is forcing them
to adapt and update their offering on a continuing basis.
Data from TripVision underlines the pace and direction of the change on the consumer side. The online traveller is
younger, more affluent and better educated than the general population – characteristics that are significantly more
pronounced among travellers who book online with OTAs (online travel agencies such as Expedia, Travelocity,
Lastminute) than among those who book through the online sites of traditional tour operators (see Figure 1). This
distinction is likely to continue to evolve, as more – and more diverse – travellers organise their trips on the internet.
Research by shows that the fastest growing consumer segment in the UK for online travel is people over
55 years of age and from the C2/DE 2 segments.
In an era when customer knowledge is power, this ongoing change in the profile of the ‘typical’ customer means that
while online travel agencies have to date taken a relatively generic approach to addressing the needs of the online
traveller, it is now becoming more important that they apply increasingly sophisticated techniques to build
knowledge of their customer base. This knowledge will be key to their ability to attract, convert and retain customers
in the future.
Source: Tripvision: data from a representative sample of 25,653 UK interviewees
Figure 1 – Demographics of online travel customers in the UK
As the consumer base which uses online travel sites becomes more mass market, and the type of travel that is
booked online also changes, we believe there is scope to provide a more tailored consumer facing website to
address each of the different consumer segments, rather than having one site to cover all consumer segments and
travel occasions. This enables the same content (i.e. air or hotels) to be sold, but by using different websites
enables a more targeted approach to be used for an increasingly varied and sophisticated consumer base.
From “How to maintain success in the online travel space” by PriceWaterhouseCoopers
D = Working class; E = Subsistence level
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How does Sell-It Suite enable a more targeted approach to be used for an increasingly
varied and sophisticated consumer base?
Travel companies continually stress the importance of “flexibility” and having a reservation system that provides
them with the flexibility and capabilities they need to run their business in the rapidly changing and highly
competitive environment in which they now operate. RWA would whole-heartedly endorse this view. This “f-word” as
we have called it in discussion with a number of Tour Operators sums up the philosophy behind the design of Sell-It
Suite. Traditional reservation systems have tended to “lock up” product inventory within them and make it hard, if not
impossible for new products to be loaded and new holiday offers (particularly new types of offers) to be quickly
created. This has resulted in Tour Operator’s being “at the mercy” of their reservation system suppliers when it
comes to making significant changes to their product range and their distribution channels. Sell-It Suite hands
control back to not only the Tour Operator but to the “product” and “business” people within these organisations.
Sell-It Suite supports the creation, management and delivery of the same, or different, products and product offers
for different web sites. For example, from one set of products and product content, a travel company can:
Create “family friendly’ offers using selected family oriented destinations, hotels, flights and extras and
make these available on a “For families” site
Create “for singles” offers using selected destinations, hotels and flights that are more suitable for singles
and make these available on a “For singles” site
Create “for the restless” offers using resorts and hotels that have a wide range of activities and make these
available on a “Activity holidays” site
Make all of the above holidays available on one site with the ability for site visitors to select from the
holiday types i.e. “family friendly”, “singles”, “activity holidays” at the start of their browsing process and
have the site only present these types of holiday.
Supplier Contracts
Routes, Resorts, Hotels, Brochure Content etc …
Costs, Availability, Prices
Insurance etc. ….
Package Rules
Flight Only, Accomm Only, Fixed Packages, Dynamic Packages
Telephone, Internet (Agency, Consumer, 3rd party …….)
Site 2
Site 1
Figure 2 – Sell-It’s Inventory Manager enables the same or different products to be sold across multiple web sites
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The branding and white-labelling capabilities within Sell-It Suite mean that new web sites can be created to target
specific audiences. These web sites may maintain a standard company branding but have different product content,
or may have a completely different branding and ‘look’ to them that is tailored specifically to that target audience.
Main Driveline Web Site
Driveline Bales Site
Driveline Teletext Site
Driveline This Is Travel Site
Figure 3 – Live examples of Sell-It Suite’s ability to support product sales across multiple web sites
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Within Sell-It Suite it is possible to set up different ‘brochure content’ i.e. descriptions and pictures of, for example, a
resort or hotel for use on different web sites. This enables:
Brochure Content By Channel
Product descriptions and pictures can be created
for all or specific sales channels. This enables
product information to be tailored for particular
audiences. For example:
• Resort information to be targeted at a particular
audience for a particular web site e.g.
emphasis on clubs, night life and bars for one
site and emphasis on the beach, restaurants
and excursions for another.
• Hotel information to be targeted at a particular
audience for a particular web site e.g.
emphasis on family rooms, child care and
family activities for a family oriented site and on
restaurants, entertainment and relaxation for a
‘seniors’ site.
Figure 4 – Sell-It Suite’s Inventory Manager supports targeting product descriptions for specific audiences
A major benefit of Sell-It Suite is the ability to have multiple sales campaigns running at once. For example, a travel
company may have standard product pricing running alongside special offers e.g. 2 for 1 and 15% discounts on
certain dates.
These offers can all be sold over one or more sales channels e.g. telephone and/or web, or made available on one
or more targeted, specific web sites.
Targeted Campaigns
Pricing and campaign flexibility is a core
strength of Sell-It and is an absolute
necessity in the internet environment where
pricing flexibility and marketplace
responsiveness are key competitive
Campaigns targeted at specific audiences
can be created quickly and deployed down
appropriate sales channels.
Figure 5 – An example of two simultaneous campaigns.
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Another excellent way of providing tailored offers is to create calendar related offers. For example, e.g. “valentine’s
weekend offers”, “half term specials”. Online travel agencies such as have made this a key element
of their selling strategy and have identified key dates throughout the year around which offers can be based.
Using Sell-It Suite, calendar specific offers can be created in minutes using existing inventory. The offers can be
based on standard product offers and then have discounts or additional free, optional or priced extras added to
For example a “Valentine Special” rule could be created based upon:
Standard room inventory in one or more hotels, or a specific room e.g. a suites in one hotel
Standard flight inventory or specific flights
Included or optional ‘add-ons’ e.g. champagne on arrival, dinner for two, a theatre ticket
A price mark-up, or markdown
These offers could be for travel only between 9th and 16th February and go on sale from 5th January, for example.
Valentine Specials
BA flights from LHR to CDG
Double rooms in Paris hotels
Champagne in room
Optional Seine cruise
For travel 9 to 16 Feb 2007
On sale from 5 Jan to 9 Feb
Web Booking for £496.00 For Valentine Special Driven From Rule Above
Friday 9 Feb
BA 316 15:00 LHR to CDG
Saturday 10th Feb
Seine cruise for two
Sunday 11th Feb
BA 329 21:40 CDG to LHR
Double room in Le Meurice
Champagne in room
Figure 6 – Sell-It Suite enables the rapid creation of calendar specific offers
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In an era when customer knowledge is power, it is more important then ever that travel companies build knowledge
of their customer base. This knowledge will be their key ability to attract, convert and retain customers in the future.
Key questions include:
From which source or channel does each of my bookings originate?
Which are our most successful sources or channels, from both a volume and profitability view point?
Who are my most profitable customers?
What do visitors who don’t book on my web site look at and where do they leave my site?
What destinations and dates are of most interest to my web site visitors?
Every booking made using Sell-It Suite is associated with a ‘booking source’. For web site bookings, the source is
unique to the particular web site. This means it is possible to quickly see which bookings came from for example:
The web as opposed to the call centre
A specific web site e.g. a targeted or specific branded site
A web site set up for a particular audience e.g. people coming from pay per clicks ads on Google
Source Tracking
Sell-It Reservator’s Bookings
Manager shows the source code
for every booking regardless of
the channel over which the
booking was made.
The source information can be
used along with other booking
and customer information
captured and maintained within
Sell-It’s customer and bookings
database tables to form the
basis for detailed analysis in
order to build up a strong
customer knowledge base.
Figure 7 – Reporting on booking sources for each booking made
A complete customer history is maintained within Sell-It Suite. This embraces both a complete history for a single
booking (booking-centric) and a person’s multiple bookings or interactions over time (customer-centric). It is also
easy within Sell-It to see the complete customer history including outstanding and completed actions and notes,
associated both with the customer and with a specific booking or component of a booking.
Customer History
Sell-It stores a complete customer history
showing enquiries, quotes and bookings along
with all notes and actions for every customer.
Figure 8 – A complete booking history, notes and completed, current and outstanding actions for each customer
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For example, a complete history would be maintained during the lifetime of a booking which went through
the follow stages:
Enquiry => quote => option => booking => deposit => amendment => balance payment
It is possible in Sell-It to see the detail for each stage, even after the booking is completed and the holiday has been
Booking History
Sell-It stores all the details of
every customer booking within
its customer database.
This allows custom reports to be
created that can analyse this
data in whatever way is most
appropriate for the business. All
of the information is also
available for export into an
external knowledge base for
data-mining if desired.
Figure 8 – Easy viewing of complete booking history
As the consumer base which uses online travel sites becomes more mass market, and the type of travel that is
booked online also changes, travel companies need the ability to provide more tailored consumer facing websites to
address each of the different consumer segments, rather than having one site to cover all consumer segments and
travel occasions. It is also vital that travel companies have optimum flexibility in being able to quickly create tailored
product offers for specific audiences or for specific calendar dates.
RWA’s Sell-It Suite enables the same or different product inventory (including brochure content) to be sold using
different websites. This enables a more targeted approach to be used for an increasingly varied and sophisticated
consumer base. The power and flexibility of Sell-It’s product rules engine also enables travel companies to easily
and quickly create tailored product offers which can then be sold via one specific web site or all sites.
With comprehensive customer and booking tracking and reporting, Sell-It Suite also provides the data necessary to
undertake detailed multi-dimensional reporting and analysis of customer acquisition patterns and sources, web site
visitors and profit analysis and reporting.
For further information on Sell-It Suite visit
For further information on RWA visit
RWA Limited 2007
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