We are glad to share some exciting updates on our service offering and other developments that will change the travel industry as we know it.
This issue includes our new partnership with Air Doctor, A-B testing insights and our article about ChatGPT.
We’ve partnered with Air Doctor
We are thrilled to announce the latest Hepstar partnership. Air Doctor connects travellers to local doctors worldwide using its multi-lingual, location-based App. Users can access a network of over 20,000 carefully approved doctors across 75 countries for qualified medical care.
Hepstar’s partnership with Air Doctor will bring this innovative offering to the travel booking process to streamline travellers’ subscription to the service where and when it’s most in demand.
Jenny Cohen Derfler, CEO of Air Doctor, said:
“We are delighted to join Hepstar’s travel ancillary network. This partnership is another strong indication of the growing need to support travellers around the globe with their medical needs. We’re excited at the prospect of Hepstar creating more awareness and adoption of our service.”
Travel is about getting from A to B
Why A-B and multivariate testing is crucial for increasing revenue.
No one should drive blindfolded and similarly, businesses should not navigate without data showing them the way forward. Data is everywhere and you need to harness it to improve your product and service, which translates to an increased bottom line. Many new businesses focus on data collection and being data informed (testing hypothesis and tracking outcomes) before commercialising their product and service, showcasing that data is a key driver behind commercial and product strategy.
What is A-B testing?
This involves comparison of two variations of a user journey, design or offering to see which enjoys higher conversion or revenue per booking.
What is multivariate testing?
This involves comparison between multiple variations with any number of differentiating variables to decide which variation (combination of variables) performs best among all the possible combinations.
What is usability testing?
This aims to gain insights into users’ motivations for their actions and how people interact with a product.
Why is testing important?
Testing enables data-driven decisions rather than speculative ones in order to optimise the user experience, ancillary conversion, revenue and even customer retention. It defines or allows you to define your target market and evolve with their changing demands. Testing and data-driven decisions offer compound returns on the investment as you incrementally improve various aspects of your product and service offering.
Ancillary testing capabilities
Despite the common desire to test ancillaries, not all businesses are geared with the necessary dynamic ancillary merchandising capability required. Others fear commitment to ancillary supply relationships or the burden of procurement processes, which inevitably stands in the way of testing new ancillaries.
Hepstar aggregates and wholesales a variety of ancillary suppliers through a single integration to allow travel businesses to dynamically enable products on a trial basis, without lengthy commitments. The only commitment is to the service, not a particular ancillary. Hepstar continuously adds to its portfolio to ensure partners future-proof their ancillary strategy and avoid further technical investment with new ancillary adoption.
With ChatGPT All Bets Are Off In Travel
The open-to-anyone free service is making headlines around the world. Everybody is talking about it and many have had a chance to play with it and give us their verdict. Big investors are eyeing its potential and $Billions are apparently being offered by the tech giants.
As a tech enthusiast, I have a keen interest in ChatGPT’s processing power and where it will take us. ChatGPT is still in its infancy and the extensive knowledge library currently dates back to 2021, so it’s not yet providing live data. But make no mistake, that will soon change and it can process very large amounts of data to make accurate predictions and recommendations, as well as be trained based on the feedback or input of users, which is pretty powerful.
ChatGPT could potentially disrupt Google, with bots replacing search engines which would make SEO and SERPS a thing of the past – you simply wouldn’t need them anymore. Whether you believe this or not, the tech has certainly ruffled many feathers in the Google camp. According to the NY Times, Google execs recently sounded a code Red amid mounting pressure from its development. However, before you write them off it’s worth noting that Google is planning to release its own generative AI with search results.
So what about data and the potential of ChatGPT?
We know that it can dive deep into customer interactions and booking history enabling travel businesses to make data-driven decisions about pricing, promotions and product development, helping hotels, tour operators and OTAs reach new audiences and drive bookings. It can make travel recommendations such as tours and attractions in cities around the world and plan customer itineraries. By connecting to Google Maps, trip planning can be easily automated.
We know that it can be used to analyse customer feedback enabling travel businesses to develop new products and improve existing offerings and it can automate many routine tasks enabling businesses to scale their operations without the need for more staff. Personalisation is the real key to success in today’s market. We know that more than half of customers will stop buying from companies that use poor personalisation tactics which is why Hepstar has developed sophisticated analytics-backed features to ensure accuracy.
AI technology will mean that personalisation of customer experiences on their holiday may not end when they arrive at their hotel or theme park, it could continue to expand into partner ecosystems, e.g. the restaurants or the clubs they choose to visit. Customers will benefit from experiences that are uniquely tailored to them.
Overall, generative AI has the potential to improve the customer experience and help businesses better understand their customers. Businesses such as hotels will need to ensure that website content is accurate. They’ll need to optimise their online presence by providing tailored and attractive content, as well as offers aligned with customer expectations.
This system is still new, and it does make mistakes. I wouldn’t use it to make fully informed, reliable business decisions right now. Most pundits believe that as more data is processed by ChatGBT, the system will learn from its mistakes and evolve based on user training, although the quality of data will impact the accuracy of output. It does make sense of course, but I believe the most valuable uses of OpenAI in business will be pointing it at smaller, refined and validated databases we trust. The most impressive solutions in the past tend to focus on a single domain.
The race to embed tools in company workflows is already on and calls to AI-based code snippets, or APIs, increased in 2022. A recent Cowen study of enterprise software buyers found that AI has emerged as the top spending priority among emerging technologies.
The potential impact of AI models needs to be debated because once released we won’t be able to take them back, so correct policymaking needs to be in place now.
As far as travel is concerned, AI enables businesses to compete on a more level playing field so when looking to the future, all bets are off.
Hepstar will be keeping a close eye on the industry’s adoption of AI and machine-learning to ensure Hepstar’s ancillary recommendation supports the vision and strategy of its partners.
We are excited to be part of Future Travel Experience, where innovation meets airlines, from May 23rd to May 25th in Dublin!
If you want to know how our services increase your ancillary revenue and customer experience, please visit our booth (MB35).
Our team would love to meet you.