RPI Versus RFM: Targeting the Frequent Traveler

Posted on by Karl Wirth

A recent Chief Marketer article explored the idea of looking at RPI (recency, persona and intent)—instead of RFM (recency, frequency and monetary value)—to drive real-time marketing. We looked at how retailers could profit from RPI last time out; now, let’s look at how travel services marketers can benefit.

RPILet’s revisit Bob, the Persona from our retail case example. In addition to being a thoughtful husband, Bob is also a software executive who travels to Las Vegas frequently for work. This time, however, he is not planning a business trip. Instead he is planning a romantic getaway for himself and his wife, and is researching the website of his favorite Vegas resort for deals.

Although Bob may have stayed at your resort several times, the RFM data you have is for the profile of Bob the businessman, not Bob the vacation planner. In this case, RPI data becomes very important to meeting Bob’s needs in real time. Once Bob visits your site, you begin to understand his needs based on RPI:

  • Relationship: Bob has visited your site previously, and did book a vacation three years ago.
  • Persona: Bob is a vacation planner, researching packages and looking at next month’s events.
  • Intent: Bob has checked availability twice in the last two hours, the second time for a suite.

Relying solely on RFM, it can take multiple bookings and trips for a system to learn how to target Bob effectively and it would be impossible to do so in real time. In Bob’s case, it would take time for the RFM data in Bob’s business traveler profile to be rationalized with his recent vacation planning activity. But with real-time marketing enabled by RPI data, you can make Bob an aggressive offer based on his in-session activity – 10% off the suite if you book in the next 24 hours – before Bob can get a better offer from another online site.

With RPI, you can begin building a real-time marketing profile the moment customers like Bob visit your site. Leveraging these inferred preferences ensures that Bob has a positive experience with his first visit, and increases the likelihood that Bob includes your resort on his short list of travel options.

Are you an online travel agency or hotel and resort? What can RPI tell you about customers visiting your site? Share your ideas and let us know how real-time marketing can impact your business.

Karl Wirth is CEO and co-founder of Evergage

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