Monday Jan 14, 2013

Holland America: Optimizing the Online Customer Experience with Oracle Real-Time Decisions

Prior to the holidays, we spent some time on the WebCenter blog focusing on how to optimize the online customer experience using segmentation and targeting with Oracle's web experience management solution, Oracle WebCenter Sites.  We also introduced you to Oracle's real time decisioning engine, Oracle Real-Time Decisions, which can be used in combination with Oracle WebCenter Sites to enable automated targeting and segmentation.You can check out those posts using the following links:

Today, we're expanding on this theme and featuring a guest post from Oracle sales consultant, Sumeet Prasad.  Sumeet is part of the Oracle Real-time Decisions strategy team. Sumeet has been with Oracle for six years and has twelve years of experience in the real-time decisioning space. This post will give you a very good sense of the truly powerful capabilities of Oracle Real-Time Decisions for optimizing the online customer experience.

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Holland America is a wholly owned subsidiary of Carnival Corp. It is recognized as a leader in the cruise industry’s premium segment. Holland America Line’s fleet of 15 ships offers nearly 500 cruises to 320 ports of call in more than 100 countries and is expected to have carried over 750,000 cruise passengers in 2012 that visited all seven continents.

Like many in the travel industry, Holland was looking for ways to increase revenue and margin in a poor economy. Maximizing the revenue from their passengers was important to increasing overall revenue. The travel industry is trending towards more online bookings and customers are increasingly more web savvy. Holland’s existing websites for both cruise booking and shore excursion provided a one size fits all approach in regards to customer experience.

Holland America decided to utilize Oracle Real Time Decisions (RTD) to help achieve their goals. They went live with RTD in June of 2012 within their Online Shore Excursion booking process. They had 2 primary business goals for this initiative:

  • Leverage Real-Time Decisions to help increase booking revenue for Shore Excursions, Indulgences, Spa and Dining by optimizing cross-sell and up-sell offers in the web channel through adaptive learning and multi goal arbitration
  • Leverage Real-Time Decisions to improve the overall customer experience by providing personalized and targeted content, and product recommendations throughout the Shore Excursion selection experience.


RTD provides Holland America with a cross channel, centralized decision management service for Customer Experience Optimization. RTD enables real-time intelligence to be instilled into any customer interaction, thus Holland is able to learn and predict which shore excursions, indulgences, and dining options are most appropriate to deliver to a customer. By learning from every single interaction and adjusting their processes in real-time, Holland America always takes the best course of action and optimizes the value of each opportunity.

The RTD Decision Management Framework provides for user-defined business rules, automated segmentation, real-time predictive models, test and control capabilities and user defined performance goals for optimizing decisions. Both rules and models can operate on historical, transactional and contextual real-time information.  This allows Holland America to treat every customer coming to the Shore Excursion site as a “segment of one” and provide for personalized and optimized customer experiences.

There are four optimized decisions that RTD makes as part of the Shore Excursion Booking Process. 90% of visitors have the optimized experience (RTD) and 10% of the visitors have the control experience (status quo):

  • Decision #1: Show/No Show shore excursions landing page:  Determine which flow is best for each customer.
  • Decision #2: Which landing page image is best to display?
  • Decision #3: Rank order the top excursions on the catalog page for each customer?
  • Decision #4: What are the best additional shore excursions, indulgences and spa and dining offers to recommend on the shopping cart page?

Within one month of being live, Holland America saw booking rates increase by 14% for the optimized experience (RTD) vs. the Control Experience (status quo). The success of this first project is helping pave the way for future RTD projects, as well as the adoption of Web Center Sites for building and managing their websites.


Watch an On-Demand Webcast to Learn More!

Thursday Dec 20, 2012

Optimizing the Online Experience with Oracle WebCenter & Oracle Real-Time Decisions

Earlier in the week, we took a closer look at two different approaches to segmentation and targeting, manual and automated. While manual segmentation and targeting gives marketers a great deal of control, this approach can become time consuming and complicated when dealing with high volumes of segments and content. In these situations, automated segmentation, which relies on predictive intelligence, may be an appropriate choice for optimizing your online customer experience.

Oracle’s web experience management solution, WebCenter Sites, already includes robust capabilities for marketer managed segmentation and targeting, however, a whole new level of optimization can be achieved by combining WebCenter Sites with Oracle’s decision management solution, Real-Time Decisions. Using the power of statistical data models and historical and real-time analytics, Real-Time Decisions automates what would otherwise be the manual task of sifting through volumes of customer data, determining likely and potential customer segments, and determining the best content to present to a given site visitor. As customer interactions take place, Real-Time Decisions continuously refines its data models, automatically adjusting and learning over time to achieve the optimal content selection for each site visitor.

Marketers have multiple levels of control when using Real-Time Decisions. They can opt for full automation and let Real-Time Decisions handle all of the decision making. In this case, Real-Time Decisions infers segmentation and uses automation to make decisions about what content to display to the site visitor. Or, marketers can opt for a more controlled approach and specify performance goals that will help steer the Real-Time Decisions model in the direction of desired business objectives such as maximizing revenue or maximizing conversions.

Together, Oracle WebCenter Sites and Oracle Real-Time Decisions provide marketers with the ability to determine the best approach for realizing their segmentation and targeting objectives, whether that means managing the process manually or by instituting some level of automation. Download this white paper to learn more about how WebCenter Sites and Real-Time Decisions combine to create a truly powerful solution for optimizing the online customer experience to meet your business objectives.

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Oracle WebCenter is the center of engagement for business—powering exceptional experiences for customers, partners, and employees. It connects people, process, and information with the most complete portfolio of portal, Web experience management, content, imaging and collaboration technologies.

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