Understanding your supply flow and how to optimise it
What’s a supply flow?
Accommodation partners list a certain number of rooms on our platform that travellers can discover and book. However, not all of these available rooms show up in search results. There are multiple reasons for this: the partner may not be loading all their rooms onto our platform, some rooms that are loaded may be lacking information about their rate plan, or updated inventory or rooms with rate plans can fail to be shown in our front-end because restrictions have been applied to them.
We model this situation using a supply flow, where we include the amount of rooms that are in different supply stages (see figure below). This lets us identify where the gaps occur. For example, we may be able to identify that 30% of your uploaded rooms have no rate plans and therefore aren’t bookable on our platform.
The supply flow of your properties is determined by four factors:
- Total capacity – an estimation of the total number of rooms that they have
- Uploaded rooms – total number of rooms that properties have loaded on our platform
- Inventory rooms – total number of rooms with rate plans and calendar information that properties have listed on our platform
- Front-end rooms – average number of rooms that are shown on our front end when considering all possible lengths of stay
By analysing the quantity of rooms that are in the different stages of the supply flow of your properties, you can see where the biggest drop-off rate occurs.
- If the primary drop-off point is between uploaded rooms and inventory rooms, you can increase the number of bookable rooms by advising your properties to attach rate plans and update inventory and prices when relevant.
- If the primary drop-off rate is between inventory rooms and front-end rooms, you can increase the number of rooms on the front end by advising your properties to lift some restrictions (on rooms, rate plans, occupancy or promotions).
Connectivity’s role in the supply flow
Our Connectivity Partners act as intermediaries between our platform and our connected accommodation partners.By aggregating the supply flows of all accommodation partners connected to one Connectivity provider, we can model what the supply flow for that Connectivity partner looks like. This allows us to identify potential gaps in supply that could then be addressed to boost performance.
What was the purpose of the Supply Flow Survey?
In Q2 2020, we reached out to our managed Connectivity partners through the Supply Flow Survey to learn more about how their systems and commercial advice impact the supply flow of our accommodation partners. We’re now analysing the results of that survey, as well as the specific supply flow performance of different types of providers.
By understanding supply flow performance and how providers can influence it, we can develop product and commercial solutions to improve the drop-off rate in the supply flow of our Connectivity partners. This creates a win-win-win: for us, for Connectivity providers and for accommodation partners.
Based on this information, here’s what we’re working on:
- Releasing the right APIs A deeper understanding of our Connectivity partners’ systems will help us with our product targeting, since not all our APIs are relevant for all systems’ configuration.
- Understanding how data is pulled from different systems We’re planning to update our Rates & Availability APIs. Understanding how data is obtained will help us estimate the need for supporting synchronous systems vs. the current asynchronous workflows we support.
- Understanding the nature of rates and availability updates (full vs. incremental updates) Finding out how many Connectivity partners push all changes versus incremental changes will help us with impact assessment and Go-To-Market planning if and when we want to move towards only incremental changes.
- Assessing what the missing supply is on our platform
The answers in the Supply Flow Survey are helping us assess the size of the missing supply. The insights below are partially based on the survey results:
- Previous research shows that corporate supply is typically shared with a global distribution system (GDS). More than half of our managed Connectivity partners work with a GDS. Using this information, we can find out how to build the right workflows to make sure we get corporate supply via Connectivity to our platform.
- More than half of our managed Connectivity partners share their full inventory with all online travel agents (OTAs). Either they don’t have functionalities to share different inventories per OTA, or if this functionality exists on their interface, very few properties actually use it. The results of the survey help us assess how much influence providers can have to drive supply to our platform, and help us plan our product/commercial strategy accordingly.
- Most of our managed Connectivity partners have told us that on our platform they can use all the room types available for their properties (except for conference rooms, packages or some special room types). This is an opportunity for us to look at potential use cases and workflows to source this supply.
- Most of our managed Connectivity partners are willing to share the current set-up of properties on their systems. Having this information will help us map what room types or rate plans are missing on our platform, and tackle the underlying reasons behind it. This way, we can be 100% sure of the property’s supply.
- Assessing how Connectivity partners advise their properties on various supply flow drop-offs Around a quarter of our Connectivity partners already have ways to identify gaps in occupancy and suggest actions to their properties. We want to understand how we can best integrate our advice in the Opportunities API into their workflows – as opposed to replicating the Opportunity Centre on their interface.
What’s coming next?
In the next half year, we’re planning to take the following steps:
- We will analyse the survey and consolidate findings to share with our product and commercial teams and Connectivity partners.
- We will conduct interviews with some Connectivity partners to share more information about their supply flow performance and collaborate on potential improvements.
- We will start tracking the supply flow performance of our Connectivity partners and find opportunities to share this information with you.
- We will define commercial activities (such as commercial incentive deals) that can improve the supply flow.
- We will analyse how our products can be improved to help you to optimise your supply flow.
If you have any ideas on how we can best work together on optimising your supply flow, we’d love to hear them. Please reach out to your Partner Business Manager and share your thoughts.
- The supply flow model allows us to identify where the biggest drop-off rate of rooms occurs, so we can close the gaps and optimise our partners’ supply.
- By aggregating the supply flows of all the accommodation partners connected to a specific provider, we can model the supply flow of that Connectivity partner.
- By analysing the results of our supply flow survey, we can develop product and commercial solutions to improve the drop-off rate, resulting in a win-win-win for us, for you, our providers, and for accommodation partners.