Taking personalisation too far can cause more problems for travel companies than not doing it at all, the head of Groupon Travel told a Travolution delegates at EyeforTravel Europe last week.
Jonathan Starkings, UK managing director of Groupon Travel, told a Yielfidy session at the conference that personalisation can go too far.
“My experience at Groupon is that you can over-do it, he said. “So, starting broad and iterating from there is really important.
“Getting your data in shape to be able to add the overlays you want is really critical but if you try to get too granular and too personalised you will have problems with data scarcity.”
He added simply use and analysis of data on its own is not the answer, but that it is important to be flexible.
“It’s really important to have an open mind when looking at the data,” he said. “Many times I’ve been absolutely confident this hypothesis will prove true and I’ve seen a small tweak drive negative conversion bad customer experience and reduce stickiness on the site.
“Data has to be key where possible, but you have to have an open mind to let the data tell you what to do.
“There are definitely ways we can pull signals from what customers are doing. But there is always a danger of going too far with that and inferring things from weak signals.
“It’s something we do okay today but there’s a lot more to do to make sure we are presenting the right offers to the right people at the right time, but that’s critical to success going forward.”
Ross Matthews, chief commercial officer for Icelolly.com, said the deals publisher and holidays metasearch site was starting to react to users’ intent to provide unique experiences.
“The data model that’s required to allow us to identify the user in their current mode of booking is in place. We are using that to create audiences for remarketing and advertising so that we can put the right message in front of that user.
“A good example would be if you have searched for a holiday on Iceloly.com and we wanted to retarget you we would place into that creative a message that is absolutely relevant, like a family-oriented destination, even down to hotels browsed.
“The next step for us, and we’re not quite there yet, is to try to steer the user journey slightly differently.”
Romain Sestier, head of data at Yieldify, issued a warning about how firms handle data to gain customer insight: “If you’re measuring the wrong thing you are going to get the wrong insight out of it.
“Too many people are just focusing on conversion rate. May favourite metric is revenue per visitor because that encompasses the average order value as well as the conversion rate.
“Too many people are focussing on getting more visitors converting but if you drop the average order value you are actually dropping revenue and that should be your prime metric as a business.”