Travelocity Gets Personal With Home Page Ads

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL -- Travelocity is about to embark on the next phase of personalizing customer touch points with an ad on the site's home page serving travel deals based on who the visitor actually is.


Though more details on that project will be disclosed over the next few weeks, the concept is modeled after Travelocity's two-month practice of serving ads based on the site visitor's geographic location. The travel site recognizes the IP address and accordingly serves deals from that location.


"If we recognize who you are, we'll serve up some of our other e-mail campaigns based on your travel lifecycle, and we'll send you a cross-sell message," said Laura J. Johnston, vice president of customer relationships at Travelocity. "What ends up happening is that we have a one-to-one conversation with our customers based on who they are and what they've done in the past. It really makes this spot on the home page one to one instead of just generic."


Johnston is a speaker at the 2005 Annual Teradata Partners User Group Conference and Expo. Like almost all attendees, she is a customer of Teradata's data warehouse products.


Her company's latest relationship marketing initiative is driven by a need to differentiate itself from rivals in the competitive and lucrative online travel category.


Consider how it currently works. A consumer, customer or not, visits the site at www.travelocity.com. The system recognizes the IP address, allowing the banner on the home page's right side to serve deals out of that geographic location. The ad, which is a template, will show a percentage or dollar figure. Once the consumer clicks through the ad, she is taken straight to the "Low Fare Alert" page. This page also can be accessed by clicking on the "Flights" navigational bar on the home page. The "Low Fare Alert" page shows a listing of flights, dollars and percentage discounts from the visitor's origin to several cities nationwide.


These deals also are reflected in the "Good Day to Buy" e-mails sent to customers when Travelocity searches for fares that dropped at least 20 percent the night before. The company measures against a baseline to know what the typical fares are.


After clicking on the selected fare, the visitor is taken to a page that asks the number of travelers for that trip. Hitting the button takes her to a page full of flights. A further click-through takes her to the dates open for the flight. She then can select and make the purchase.


All fares are stored in the Teradata data warehouse.


"What we've basically done is taken our customer data warehouse and our deal-finding data and stored them in our warehouse, and then we use Teradata's TAP architecture to make that accessible to our front end," Johnston said.


Travelocity's efforts are yet another indication of the increasing sophistication in making e-commerce as personalized and customer-relevant as possible.


"We don't want to mass-market irrelevant ads to customers," Johnston said. "Given all the competition for customers, we think it's important to make those customer conversations meaningful or based on either where they live or what they've expressed interest in. Being more relevant to customers, at a minimum, doubles performance."


Mickey Alam Khan covers Internet marketing campaigns and e-commerce, agency news as well as circulation for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters. Mickey is a guest of Teradata at the conference.
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