Lax customer data analytics 'not acceptable' in today's industry, says Hotels.com CTO

By Danny Palmer
21 Aug 2014 View Comments
Pile of bread rolls

Any customer-facing website which doesn't use algorithms for analysing information about visitors' preferences for the purposes of improving their customer experience isn't providing an acceptable service.

That's according to Hotels.com CTO Thierry Bedos, who likened a website not learning about what its visitors want to being a baker who still doesn't know a regular customer's favourite bread after a decade of shop visits.

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"If you were going to see your baker every day and always buying the same product, then you come in after 10 years and the baker still asks you ‘what do you want today?' You'd feel like they should know by now," he told Computing. 

"It's the same thing for the websites," Bedos continued. "We use so many services, it's not acceptable if you've been visiting the same site 100 times and they don't know anything about you – they should know a lot about you."

"And they should know enough things to make your experience very enjoyable. You shouldn't waste time telling the site what you like and don't like – they should know that. We should personalise that experience based on you," he added.

Bedos explained how Hotels.com analyses data about visitor habits in order to make the best personalised hotel recommendations as possible.

"We collect your browsing behaviour, either through that session or your history with Hotels.com and understand some of your preferences. If you always filter by five-star hotels, there's no point us showing you one- or two-star hotels," he said.

"We're trying to build a model around the likely options that will make a customer buy and what's the best hotel for a particular customer," Bedos continued, adding, "So we get all that data, establish trends around your browsing experience, try to segment those trends then apply algorithms to select the best hotel for the customer."

But while Hotels.com is doing its best to analyse big data, Bedos told Computing there's a "lack of maturity" in the market when it comes to analytical tools on offer.

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