According to the travel industry, up to 35% of you know where you want to go on holiday.
The Planning Phase
I don’t know about you, but Jess (my better half) and I get quite excited at the planning stage of a holiday and for some reason, we’re nearly always at the kitchen table when this happens. It’s just after dinner, a glass of wine in hand and dreaming of warmer weather — that’s when we start passing the laptop back and forth. A process that goes something like:
“How about, Mykonos?”
Says Jess, as the laptop gets pushed across the table, before adding,
“Guaranteed to be hot, great beaches, good food, and a reasonably short flight?”
“Not a bad option” I reply.
Secretly thinking ‘it’s rubbish for cycling and there’s no surf’. Which, to be fair is probably exactly what Jess is thinking since she wants a holiday and not to be a child carer while I slope off for a bike ride or a surf.
Fast forward 45 minutes and things start getting tetchy as one of two things happen.
- We can’t find any common ground and give each other the silent treatment, or…
- We find so many destinations that we become paralysed by indecision, at which point we give up and go to watch another episode of Luther.
The Indecision Phase
It’s quite likely that indecision is a big contributor to the alarming statistic that the travel industry suffers in excess of a 75% cart abandonment record. So what’s the answer?
Conversations with co-workers, newspaper articles and recommendations from friends and family are okay and somewhat reliable, but shouldn’t it be easier in this technological age to get relevant travel recommendations? The promise of artificial intelligence (AI) is that machine learning algorithms should be able to know us better than we know ourselves and provided with access to enough relevant data, be able to recommend the perfect holiday destination.
That’s our hypothesis at 3Sixty and why we’re building an advanced inspiration tool for the travel industry called TripStarter.
We’ve built an early prototype, user tested and are now into production with a limited number of partner travel businesses to access the large amounts of data that help train the machine learning algorithm. We’ll know that we’ve succeeded if a customer gets the results and thinks to themselves, ‘How did they know I’d like that?’.
In other words, it’s so good that it feels like magic.
We’ll know we’ve succeeded on behalf of our travel partners if we see a statistically significant increase in conversion rate and a decrease in cart abandonment. That’s the bottom line and how we all get paid, via a percentage of uplift in conversion. A win-win scenario. Plus we will have made a significant contribution to our purpose at 3Sixty — to encourage more people to travel and see the world.