Data is heartbeat of digital operations, says Tui Travel

Tracking the user across multiple devices is a work in progress but Tui is making headway with three initiatives. Ritesh Gupta reports

From a simple mouse movement to a click or scroll, it is now possible to evaluate the exact point of conversion on a travel company’s website. In the multi-device environment, however, insights are harder to track.

According to Nick Longman, Managing Director, Distribution and Online, Tui Travel - Mainstream Division, Tui Travel’s customers are accessing the company’s digital properties through various devices, and from different devices at the same time. “Without cookies jumping from device to device, it’s obviously difficult, at an individual level, to track performance,” he says.

In traditional web analytics, cookies are files that are stored on web browsers which can help in targeted advertising, designing checkout options and so on. While web traffic analysis is now common place, tracking multi-device browsing isn’t supported by cookies yet.

But things are changing and at TUI three initiatives are underway to help track users across devices:

1.  The use of Google’s Universal Analytics, a flexible tracking code that enables the gathering of data from any digital device. According to Google, there are three types of tracking code for websites, for mobile apps and for devices like games consoles. With privacy being such a big issue, Google says information collected – on hardware model, OS version and so on - may be device specific; this may be related with device identifiers or a phone number linked to a Google Account. “Today it is very difficult [to identify clicks across a device], at a singular user click / impression level but Universal Analytics goes some way to resolving this,” Longman says.

2.  Understanding the attribution model: Attribution modelling enables the team to assess the performance of marketing channels. “We’re currently using a number of solutions to assess attribution but are looking to rely on one across all our mainstream businesses,” says Longman. Attribution also plays a significant role in evaluating the cross-platform performance of a brand. According to Longman, teams need to understand the attribution model first to know which channels are providing value. “At a device level get the data hygiene right, understand the booking funnel, bounce rates, CTR’s etc. Then tie up through Universal Analytics to understand cross device behaviour,” he says.

3.  Data management and analytics: TUI Travel is pulling multiple data sources into its big data universe to better understand behaviour and performance. As Longman points out: “TUI views data as the heartbeat of digital operations”. To do this it has implemented two tools:

·        Hadoop as the core data stack “into which we’re sucking in and crunching the data across multiple areas (web, data warehouse etc)”.

·        Platfora, a big data analytics software company, as a tool to visualise and distribute the data. Platfora emphasises the need to focus on a purpose-built analytics platform on top of Hadoop that can scale exponentially and handle all forms of big data: customer interaction, transaction and machine data. The firm has created an analytics platform that simplifies the way these types of data are available for decision-making.

According to Longman, TUI uses web analytics to identify optimisation opportunities and this, in conjunction with user testing, helps to prioritise the product backlog. Customisation and personalisation of the mobile experience on a real-time basis is another priority. Having access to the right data would help to determine offers, content and merchandising to the customer.

Nick Longman, Managing Director, Distribution and Online, TUI Travel - Mainstream Division will be speaking at the upcoming Travel Distribution Summit Europe, 2014, to be held in London (May 22-23).

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