Hugo Burge, CEO of momondo, tells Sydney Paulden how much can be learned from analysis of millions of flight pricesI have been the first to stress that MICE business is very distinct from consumer travel. However, there are areas where the interests of individual passengers and group organisers are beginning to overlap.
The common factor is the need to keep down costs. Where the consumer area can be of assistance is in the huge quantity of data that can be collected relating to general air passenger traffic. The findings based on these data can feed into organisers’ decision-making and steer them towards decisions that can achieve economies.
Hugo Burge is the CEO of momondo, which incorporates what was formerly known as Cheapflights Media. Momondo has just announced record 2014 first quarter results, with turnover increasing by 29% to £14.5m.
Most of the revenue derives from a tiny percentage commission paid by the airlines (not by the passengers) on bookings placed, so the huge numbers of flights can be imagined.
Momondo is fast gaining a reputation for innovation and it makes the most of the data it captures in its operations.
Hugo Burge explains that its latest service, known as Flight Insight, has been created from a remarkable capacity to crunch numbers. ‘We are able’, he says, ‘to identify the best times for advance bookings in terms of the deals available. We have analysed the days of the week that tend to offer the lowest-cost air fares; the times of the year and even the times of day.’ The detail seems endless, for he also adds: ‘Some airports are lower cost than others, even in the same city area. We can identify which airlines tend to be at the top of the price range and which at the bottom.’
It is not difficult to imagine how this kind of basic information can be of assistance in steering group organisers when they are at the earliest stage of planning an event that will require large movements of delegates or award winners.
As Hugo maintains: ‘We work on the fundamental premise that air travel planning and pricing is confusing and complicated and that everyone welcomes ways to make the best decisions on facts and figures presented in an easily digestible manner. We have the data. We have developed the techniques to analyse it. And we make best use of design and colour to present our findings.’
Flight Insight was first introduced about a year ago. It was rapidly taken up by would-be passengers in the areas where momondo was then better known, such as Scandinavia and Russia. Since then the service has been ‘tweaked’ and promoted more widely from its twin headquarters in London and Copenhagen. ‘It is now’, Hugo claims, ‘gaining ground in more and more regions of the world.’
Flight Insight, on hand alongside search results on the momondo websites, is available for over 1,800 routes, with more being added continually.