Discussions around who owns the customer are not new, with the idea of portable profiles often mooted at conferences.
But what if it was a big brand such as Amazon, Google or even Booking.com?
Andy Owen Jones, co-founder and CEO of data and personalization specialist bd4travel, says that over time, who owns the customer profile is going to change.
“At the moment everyone is trying to own their own profile, and I’ll think you’ll see some shared profiles coming up with customers owning their own profiles and giving access to those profiles.”
He adds that a situation with an "objective third party" owning the profile could also arise, akin to credit scores with Experian.
Owen Jones, who was speaking at the Travel Forward Conference at World Travel Market in London this week, also believes the sharing of data will be much easier once people
own their profiles and are prepared to open up access to them.
He says to get things truly working seamlessly between companies, the industry needs “interoperability of profiles” as well as technology standards.
Owen Jones predicts that where the big fights between big portals such as Amazon and Google will emerge is the ownership of the profile.
“Will it be something each company owns, or do we all buy into an Amazon profile or an Apple profile or a Google profile?”
Subscribe to our newsletter below
Touching on personalization, Owen Jones says the travel industry is stuck in a phase of looking at segments and averages rather than individuals and needs to take a longer-term view.
“If you start to take the blue pill of personalization, it takes a long time to do it but you move away from a segment or an average approach. I think we’re still a few years from doing that.”
The first hurdle, he says, is a "mental" one for company bosses and marketing chiefs in terms of accepting personalization is not about instant results but having a vision and endlessly testing.
Joost Vermeulen, regional director of Northern Europe for Booking.com, says data is used across all departments in the company to “define direction and strategy.”
“We do everything with testing. We measure and learn how customers or partners are interacting with different functionality and based on that we move forward. On a daily basis we have over 1,000 A/B tests running on our website to learn if what we think
is also what people are using. It’s super important to measure the impact of how you use that data, not to purely change something but to see if it is indeed working.”
REGISTER NOW! Expedia Group, Booking Holdings, Ctrip, MakeMyTrip and others speak at The Phocuswright Conference 2018