Many have said that oil is no longer the most precious resource in the world. Instead, data has become more valuable – and the ability to refine data into actionable insight is paramount in today’s global market. No one understands this more than Ritchie Ramsamy, Sales and Account Director for APAC at Infare. Throughout his career, he has focused on sales development and business strategies through in-depth data analysis in APAC on behalf of the airline industry. With APAC predicted to account for half of all worldwide passenger traffic growth over the next twenty years, understanding how to refine data into insight will be a top priority. We recently sat down with this month’s Infare Insider to learn more about his experience in APAC, his passion for data analysis and how he plans to partner with Infare’s customers to turn data into increased revenue.
Ritchie, what brought you to Infare?
I think it’s not just one thing that brought me here, but instead many factors. While attending the National University of Singapore, I developed a passion for data and the insight you can gain from its analysis. Early in my career in the financial sector, I saw how data could be used to segment customers to provide more individualised offers and services. I then moved into the airline industry, where I used data from a wide range of sources, including Infare, to formulate strategic pricing approaches and develop competitive sales plans. So when I had the opportunity to combine my passion for data with my airline industry experience and see things from another perspective, that was quite enticing. I have also focused on the APAC region before, and being able to work again in that market while utilising my experience was very appealing.
Throughout my career, I have worked within large corporations and was intrigued by the thought of working for a more nimble, fast-growing company. During my interviews, I learned about the double-digit growth of Infare year over year, which excited me. I have always been up for a challenge, and being a part of such a high-pace, innovative organisation was quite appealing.
It has been said that data is the new oil. How is this important to the airline and travel industry?
The travel industry as a whole is developing very quickly. The way that airfares are distributed is changing. We are all hearing about the New Distribution Capability (NDC), and how it is reshaping the travel industry. With NDC, data does more than just fuel segmentation. Data can help drive personalisation and give airlines the insight needed to present the right price to the right customers.
For a long time, when we talked about airfares, we always said it was selling the right seat to the right customer at the right time. But I feel like this has changed. Now the sale of a ticket is not just presenting the right seat to the right customer at the right time, but also at the right price and in the right channel.
Data truly empowers personalisation and dynamic pricing. But data on its own, without analysis, is just oil. It is how you refine the data that makes the real difference. You need to refine the data into information, and then turn that information into actionable insights. Airlines collect massive amounts of data about every traveller –information like where a passenger is going, which booking class they are looking at, and if the travel is for business or leisure. From these data points, you can begin to know your customers very well. When you start to add in additional data points, like flight history or frequent flyer account information, you can gain further insights into your customers, allowing you to personalise the travel experience.
Many airlines are just scratching the surface right now on how they can use this data to its full potential. Let’s say, for example, I am a business traveller, and I regularly purchase business-class tickets. As part of this fare class, I can check two pieces of luggage. But as a business traveller, I am only bringing a carry-on. Airlines who are utilising the power of big data may begin to offer me other perks that are more in line with my travel habits, like free wifi during flights so I can get some work done or lounge access after long trips so I can freshen up before meeting clients.
I feel like the importance of data is not just when you’re selling the airfare but at every customer touchpoint – from searching for the flight to making the purchase, from check-in and boarding to baggage claim. For each of these touchpoints, you need data to provide the right fare at the right time at the right price in the right channel.
Throughout your career, you have focused on the APAC region. How do you believe this experience helps you partner with your customers?
India recently announced it plans to open 100 additional airports by 2024, and China is planning almost to double its number of commercial airports by 2035. These are huge numbers and only prove how quickly the APAC region is expanding.
As a result of this growth, new players are coming into the market with different business models than we have seen in the past. For example, you have Air Asia, which calls themselves a travel technology company instead of an airline. As a whole, APAC is one of the most diverse markets. It is comprised of many different countries with varied rates of development. As the access to air travel increases in these developing markets, we should soon see a spike in passenger travel in the APAC region.
Utilising my knowledge and experience in this region, I plan to partner with my customers to help them capitalise on this substantial growth. APAC is a very diverse market, and I am looking forward to sharing my expertise in both the region and within the airline industry with our customers to facilitate their overall success.
What is next for you and Infare?
I’m looking to establishing myself within the Infare team and serving our customers. I am excited by the opportunity to use my many years of knowledge within the airline industry and my passion for data analytics to empower our customers with comprehensive pricing intelligence. With the expansive growth of the APAC region and supported by Infare’s position as the leading provider of competitive airfare solutions and data, I am excited to take on this new challenge and further expand our footprint.
Feel free to reach out to Ritchie directly at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss the latest Infare news.
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