Business Case – Personalizing of Booking Flow
A. Our customers follow similar patterns of behavior, depending on their chosen trip. Your first task is to suggest and build customer segments to make the data more manageable.
Customer segments refer to groups of customers which a business or entity can divide its overall customer base or target audience into, in order to ensure that they are able to target their marketing and product offerings more effectively to the various groups. (Sheth, 1977) Customer segmentation may be conducted on the basis of several demographic and characteristic features, such as age, gender, class, income, occupational status, life stage (ie. single, married or with children), residential area and ethnicity.
For the attached raw booking flow data, customer segments may be built on the basis of device type, travel days, number of adults, children, and infants, and country of origin. Foremost, device type would inform us of which platforms were being used by customers, such that we could optimise the marketing content delivery and platforms accordingly. Secondly, travel days would inform us of whether customers were going on shorter or longer vacations, such that flight prices and timings could be optimised accordingly for them when booking their flights on the platform. Thirdly, the number of adults, children and infants could inform the company of the structure of the travel unit (such as solo student travellers, large families or young families), in order to recommend the appropriate travel options and add-ons. Finally, the country of origin could inform us of the residential areas and nationalities of customers, in order to tailor marketing and booking recommendations accordingly. For example, for customers frequently booking flights from the U.K., travel destinations in Europe could be suggested for short trips.
B. We want to be more relevant to the customer and at the same time maximize revenue stream from the extra products. Where do we have the best potential to improve so as to achieve this? What products should we present to what customer segments?
Relevance to the customer can be balanced with revenue maximization by segmenting customers appropriately and targeting them with appropriate products in terms of travel time, price, early-bird promotions. In terms of segmentation and targeting, promotional pricing could be used for budget travellers, add-ons could be targeted at families, and early-bird promotional products could be used for business and budget travellers.
Foremost, promotions could be given to encourage customers to travel in off-peak periods such as weekdays or middle-of-the-week periods. This would increase bookings for low-utilisation periods, thus using spare capacity in low-peak periods to increase revenue. Customers who frequently travel on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays based on booking data could be targeted with a low-peak period marketing product to encourage them to do so.
Secondly, discriminatory pricing or discount pricing could be used for customers profiled as budget travellers, such as solo travellers and students. These travellers will typically book single tickets with minimal baggage. Promotional products for lower-priced tickets could be pushed out to such customers to encourage them to book more flights.
Thirdly, add-on products such as early-check-ins and insurance coverage could be pushed out to families, who may be more risk averse at airports and would prefer add-ons to ensure a smooth flight experience. Families who are booking flights may be profiled by the number of children and infants they include in their booking, and could be prompted to add-on different travel products for insurance and early check-ins at the payment page.
Finally, early-bird promotional products could be launched to encourage customers to book early, especially for business travellers and budget travellers. For example, from the data, it may be observed that customers book flights an average of 58.91 days ahead of their travel time, but that only 20.7% of customers (10261/49355 customers) book their flights 100 days or earlier ahead of their departure date. A preferential early bird rate could thus be extended to customers who book their flights earlier, in order to secure a steady pipeline of travellers further in advance, and prevent empty slots on airplanes or reserved flights which would result in spare capacity and losses for the company.
C. Currently, we offer many different products in the booking flow. Apart from your suggestions above that are based on the dataset, your task is to present two hypotheses for shortening the booking flow with the aim to make it more personalized.
The two hypotheses for shortening the booking flow are as follows:
1. Profiling customers using the number of children/infants and the and surfacing booking suggestions will lead to a shorter booking flow and a better customer experience.
As a result, add-on products such as early check-ins, infant carriers and family insurance should only be offered to customers who book flights with children and infants, in order to shorten the booking flow for everyone else.
2. Profiling customers based on their previous booking experiences, in terms of a number of days, travel destinations, and previous preferences for baggage and insurance, will lead to a shorter booking flow and a better customer experience.
As a result, forms should be pre-filled with the customer’s previous travel destinations, preferences for baggage and insurance, and a number of passengers to shorten the amount of time required to fill out the online booking form.
Business Case 2 – Improvement of user experience
A. Your colleagues have suggested that a lot of visitors jump off the booking flow without having chosen a flight option on the results page. What reasons could explain why many users drop off from this page?
Several users may jump off the booking flow without choosing a flight option on the results page due to unnecessary results page information, unnecessary filters, feature positioning, an excess of flight details, and an excess of calls to action. Foremost, the results page contains unnecessary information on how ‘Gotogate’ is a trusted choice with various travel options ‘always included’, which is unnecessary and only serves to clutter the overall page layout. Secondly, the page contains a long list of filters, many of which are unnecessary, such as the number of stopovers. Thirdly, features such as filters are positioned unintuitively, split between the top and left hand side of the screen, which makes navigation through the filtering process difficult. Fourthly, there is an excess of flight details, and the origin, destination, departure and return flight details are displayed haphazardly with other unnecessary information such as the price, number of legs and travel timings. This makes the customer feel overwhelmed by the amount of information. Finally, the page has multiple calls to action in the form of ‘book’ buttons, but no sense as to which choice is optimal for the user, which leads to a sense of confusion as to which is the optimal course of action.
B. Assume that there is no or very little measurement on that page – what would you want to measure to verify your assumptions in the last question? How would you use these metrics to verify your assumptions?
The factors to measure in verifying the assumptions made in part (A) are the navigability of the site and the time spent to obtain the desired information. The metrics to measure in order to assess these factors are the hover rate, cursor movement, time spent on site and bounce rate (percentage of users who departed after looking at the page). Foremost, the hover rate measures how long users ‘hover’, or stay on, each part of the page. Too long a hover rate may suggest a lack of navigability and accessibility. Secondly, the cursor movement, which should be smooth and structured in an ideally designed webpage, can give web designers a sense of how well designed the results page is. Thirdly, the time spent on site will provide an indication of how navigable the website is, with too long or too short a time spent on site indicating that the user is either too easily frustrated or taking too long to find the required information. Finally, the bounce rate indicates how navigable and accessible the site is to users.
C. Based on your answers to the first two questions, what suggestions would you make to improve this page?
Foremost, I would launch an A/B test using different versions of the webpage, such as a minimalist version vis-a-vis the current cluttered version, to see which versions of the webpage would work best in terms of accessibility and utility to users. For example, the A/B test may produce results that show that the ‘trusted choice’ and ‘always included’ segments of the webpage are unimportant, or that the flight results should only feature the cheapest flights, and should only feature the start and end times of the flights, and the origin and end-points of each flight. Next, I would remove the unnecessary features as demonstrated by the A/B test. Finally, I would include new features, such as an integrated filtering function that combines the filters in the top and left-hand side of the page, or a small widget to compare the prices provided by Gotogate with other flight providers, in order to increase the utility of the platform for customers.
Sheth, J. N. (1977). Demographics in consumer behavior. Journal of Business Research, 5(2), 129-138.