Riviera Travel has a vision of becoming data-centric and customer-centric. To that end, over the last 18 months it has invested to establish the standalone insight function, doubling the number of analysts employed. By creating specialist roles within the team and adopting agile working, business problems are now being tackled based on the goal and skills requirement.
Although still only five-strong, the insight team encompasses CRM, customer analytics, customer research, data science and data visualisation. The new culture of the function has moved it beyond acting as a reactive service towards proactive problem-solving.
As an example of this, there was a perception in the business that city breaks were not as valuable as river breaks and so would not gain investment. Deep dives into the data uncovered that while not as profitable as a standalone product, city breaks are a gateway to other products in the long-term, especially leading to future river cruise bookings. Visualisation of the product relationships helped to demonstrate this to the business.
Freedom to experiment and run data discovery exercises has become part of the insight team’s way of working, often revealing solutions that would otherwise not have been pursued. A value segmentation identifying engagement levels and trends is one example, as well as a product association model showing previously unknown links that are now driving product and marketing development.
There has been no major investment into technology - SQL and R are the main analytical tools used - and recruitment has been mostly from internal candidates, with 75% drawn from the reservations department. These individuals demonstrated a natural talent for problem-solving and curiosity, helping to create a diverse team.
During Covid-19 and its impact on the travel sector, especially among older consumers who are a key demographic for Riviera Travel, the insight team has supported a switch in business focus from generating bookings to transfers and reassurance of customers. From providing the executive board with business-critical information through to supporting customer service colleagues, its activities have become central. As an indication of this, there is a plan to expand the team by a further 40%, bringing in qualitative research and management information skills, subject to market conditions.