The numero uno goal / mission of any travel company is to - increase conversion. More the conversion, higher the profit. There are various types of analytics like - predictive analytics, offline analytics, real-time analytic, pricing analytics, etc. All of these have to be used together to increase conversion.
But, among them - the type that has huge impact on increasing conversion would be "Real-time analytics". There are multiple angles to real-time analytics (that will be written as new posts in future). In this post, we will discuss only about how "sense of urgency" (while customer makes a booking) is created using real-time analytics.
Gone are all those days where travel websites have "Tell a Friend" feature to allow a customer to share information with his/her friends. Now, this gap is filled with the social media widget bandwagon. How about reversing that communication? When customer is shopping for a product (be it flight, hotel or any), the website tells the customer what other customers are doing on that product.
Example: James logs into www.travopia-hotels.com to make a hotel reservation. He searches for hotels in Chicago for 20 May. Website lists 125 hotels. Also, the website tells James - 45 customers are currently viewing Hotel Holiday Inn, 20 customers have reserved a room in the last 48 hours, the last booking made for Holiday Inn was 6 minutes ago, King Room is the most selling room type, only 2 rooms left in King Room Type. James notices all these real-time numbers and his confidence level immediately goes high and a sense of urgency is created for him to go ahead and book one of the remaining 2 King rooms. He makes his decision and reserves a King Room in Holiday Inn.
This is not a new trend. We have noticed this feature few years ago in an OTA (Agoda). Then all major OTAs followed suit. In the Indian context, recently, MakeMyTrip implemented this feature in their Hotels product (but now it seems to be turned off). Creating a sense of urgency is definitely a good strategy to increase conversion. At the same time, it should not backfire and impact conversion. Displaying "Last booking made for this hotel was 39 days ago" is definitely going to backfire. "Sense of urgency" is not utilized to its full potential by many top websites. Above analytic examples are not finite. It's upto the travel companies to put on their creativity cap to display many more "sense of urgency" analytics and also its going to be interesting to see how they are going to marry this feature with other disruptive technologies to increase conversion.
Note: In this post, there is an idea for a new travel product. It's hidden somewhere above. A neat business model can be created. We would leave it for the readers to extract it :)