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#DF19: Luxury Escapes sees revenues rise after online personalisation roll out

Online travel company Luxury Escapes has reported a 32% increase in conversion rate, leading to a bump in revenue of 21%, after implementing personalisation technology from Salesforce.

Speaking at Dreamforce 2019 in San Francisco this week, Colin Pringle-Wood, lead software engineer at Luxury Escapes, detailed how the company embarked on a technology project to personalise holiday offers for customers. He wanted to make sure its website and marketing emails surfaced relevant holidays, rather than the generic latest deals.

The eCommerce travel company started out in Australia in eight years ago and now has 3.2 million members and curates holidays for 500,000 travellers every year – 20% of which are outside its home region. The brand only features up to 70 offers on its website at any one time and its team carefully handcraft experiences and added extras, while guaranteeing that their website will be the cheapest place for that particular holiday. After putting effort into creating such detailed offers, the brand wanted to ensure the right customers were seeing the best deals.

Pringle-Wood said this process began with an upgrade of its “old creaking website” which needed a lot of “TLC to keep it going”. The company re-platformed its website and app onto cloud-based Heroku, which provided a number of features out-of-the-box enabling the company to maintain its digital presence while also releasing multiple new technical features per day without having to hire any internal DevOps employees.

Its new Heroku platform used a series of APIs to connect with Salesforce Service Cloud and Salesforce Marketing Cloud which enabled Luxury Escapes to share data between platforms and achieve a single view of the customer. The travel company also used Salesforce’s AI-powered Einstein tool and Interaction Studio to deliver personalised recommendations to customers based on the data it was gathering and sharing between the various systems.

“I was a bit sceptical when we started rolling this out,” he said, noting how the company expected half the revenue increase of the 21% it experienced, thanks to customers being presented with personalised holiday offers based on preferred destinations, holiday types and budgets.

As well as an increase in conversion and revenue, Luxury Escapes reported a 24% open rate of its marketing emails – compared to the 21% industry average. Customer call centre employees also use the Einstein and Interactive Studio tools to interact with customers and offer them the most relevant deals.

“Having a single customer view is imperative to personalisation.” he said. "We couldn’t do it with the old legacy platform. We needed the right tools and with Einstein and Interaction Studio, we never stopped learning, we took what we learnt and fed it back into the system.”

It intends to scale the technology more widely within the business after see a return on investment, expecting a revenue to dip slightly, but to remain in the high teens-early twenty percent bracket.     

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