Search tech pilot having significant impact, says Amadeus

Amadeus claims a pilot of new search technology in the US with Vayama has seen a significant impact in bringing down look-to-book ratios and improving conversion by 18%.

Sebastian Gibergues, Amadeus leisure and online vice-president, told the ITT conference in Abu Dhabi that Instant Search was a way of solving the problem of the paradox of choice in which offering too much choice stifles customer buying behaviour.

Although the system conducts a wide, comprehensive product search to find the four most appropriate results, before these are presented to the customer they are filtered down to a small selection based on certain attributes like lowest priced, fastest to book, a sponsored deal or analysis to generate recommendations based on buying patterns.

Gibergues said Amadeus wanted to do more than just return the fastest and cheapest recommendations.

“We added the concept of popularity you get in the big data world. We know what people actually bought when looking for a specific trip in a specific destination. Why not use this to reinject it into the shopping experience and really start adding this wisdom of the crowd?”

The search technology is the latest evolution of Traveltainment’s Extreme Search and will be adapted for use in different markets, including the UK.

Amadeus reversed Traveltainment out of the UK as a brand last year although always said its technology would continue to be made available in the UK under a new approach to adapting its core systems for regional requirements.

“With Vayama we moved from an overcrowded display. We wanted to clear out all the clutter in the display, move attention away from the inspiration aspect and the goal was to find a relevant set of products.

Amadeus has piloted the search platform for flight search and will develop it to cope with full packages.

Gibergues said exploiting big data “allows us to compute what we believe will have the biggest impact for the consumer”.

He added the race was on for who would most successfully embrace this new search method between the tour operators and the OTAs.

“Right now I’m curious to see who will get their first. On the one side you have the big OTAs who have been playing this game for 10 years and have mastered the pricing and how much to spend to acquire this online customer. It’s a fine art.

“On the other hand you have tour operators who have a very diversified reach of products now being able to move into the online space.”

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