Travel firms must start focusing on the small number of customers who visit their websites who account for a disproportionate amount of their business.
Graham Cooke, chief executive of digital analytics specialist QuBit, said a survey has found 30% of revenues on sites come from only 0.03% of visitors.
“There is an awful lot of people coming to your website that are not making up any of your revenue,” he told the Travolution Summit in London yesterday.
“It’s important to know who is bringing in the pounds and most importantly are you catering for those customers and ensuring they come back and are having a great experience.
“It seems obvious – focusing on customer experience makes sense.”
Cooke added that a study conducted a month ago found only around half of marketers are focused on improving the customer experience.
He said historically marketing teams had not been in control of technology budgets but that there is a big shift taking place.
“It’s telling that about 50% to 60% of budget is shifting. There is a big change in terms of who is buying technology.”
Cooke expects this shift to empower marketing teams to get to grips with the personalisation of their online offering.
“Previously they did not have the right skills in-house to get the job done. It could be down to the fact that the technology has been bought by a different department.
“It was not really what they wanted. We are seeing a big shift.”
Cooke said this will require data analyst skills to be developed in-house – “a person capable of understanding that 0.03% of visitors make up 30% of your revenue”, added Cooke.
“It’s about making that data useful, bringing it all to life.”
Travel websites are split into three broad categories today, Cooke said – utility (like Booking.com), experience and boutique, and apps-based.
Cooke believes this final sector is poised to explode. “We are going to see a number of app-only businesses in the next couple of years.
“At the heart it’s about having the tight data which means you are understanding your customer better.”
Much better insights will be made available if firms collect all the data their websites are generating from visitors and other qualitative metrics to match that against the customer journey.
“Execute quickly,” Cooke said, “It’s about ensuring you can move fast and make changes to the website that do not involve IT as a blocker.
“Build AB testing in to your business as a process. It’s not about buying a solution but about saying everything we do will be tested.”