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ReserBoard. Interview with Félix Velázquez, Director of Ancillary, Pricing, and Revenue Management at Viva Aerobus.

ReserBoard. Interview with Félix Velázquez, Director of Ancillary, Pricing, and Revenue Management at Viva Aerobus.

Technology is essential for revenue development and management, and its use is directly proportional to business outcomes. – Félix Velázquez, Director of Ancillary, Pricing, and Revenue Management at Viva Aerobus.

Félix Velázquez is a member of the Reservamos Advisory Board and also serves as the Director of Ancillary, Pricing, and Revenue Management at Viva Aerobus, a Mexican low-cost airline.

Based on his extensive experience in Revenue Management, low-cost companies, and Ancillaries, we spoke with Félix to learn about his vision of how technology can be a determining factor in analyzing data, segmenting travelers, understanding the market better, and developing strategies that allow for increasing the profitability of companies.

What is your vision in 10 years regarding pricing strategy in the ground transportation industry?

I believe that the ground transportation industry can transition to three different pricing strategies:

  • Dynamic pricing (already in the adoption phase).
  • Unbundled services, such as seat selection or even baggage.
  • Membership or subscription models.

What do you think are the most relevant challenges and benefits when implementing an ancillary-based strategy, and how does it compare to the traditional approach of ticket pricing?

The most relevant challenges of an ancillary or additional services strategy would be its adoption as a consumption model, its merchandising and execution within bus terminals. I see these three challenges as a cycle that reinforces or weakens each other depending on how it is executed.

Adoption as a consumption model is particularly challenging because disaggregating services can be perceived as “charging for everything.” Customers in the sector are not accustomed to hyper-personalizing their journey. Therefore, there may be initial resistance to adopting this model.

On the other hand, delivering the different components of this service can be a complex task, as different products will be offered at different stages of the purchase. Products such as seat selection and baggage, for example, should be offered digitally during the purchase. These services could also be offered post-purchase but before the travel date through digital means.

Lastly, additional services can be offered at the ticket counter on the day of travel. The complexity lies in aligning the entire organization with this model. Ticket counter staff must be familiar with all products offered digitally to ensure that the customer travels only with what they need.

In contrast, the benefits of this model are the ability to generate more optimal revenue for the company by alleviating pressure on fares, incentivizing occupancy, and allowing the customer to pay only for what they need. It can become a virtuous circle that allows for market growth through low fares and additional trips. Ultimately, the more trips a bus or plane makes, the lower its fixed costs become, which helps to continue offering low fares.

How are revenue management practices and income management adapting in the current context of the passenger transportation industry? What strategic adjustments have been made at Viva Aerobus to address these changes?

I would divide the adaptation of revenue management practices in passenger transportation into two categories: ground transportation and air transportation. Additionally, both sectors are at different levels of maturity in adopting these practices.

Ground transportation is in the adoption phase, where the concept of advance purchase is permeating customer consumption habits. Furthermore, this industry is also shifting a greater share of its sales to digital channels, although ticket sales at counters still hold the greatest relevance in terms of revenue for the ground transportation sector.

Air transportation, which has been using revenue management practices for several years, is transitioning to a phase of greater granularity in pricing and automation. Previously, there were many prices for a single flight; now, we find a variety of prices for additional services such as baggage, seat selection, or travel insurance. Ultimately, the determination of these prices for additional services is based on the attributes of the customer quoting a trip and is executed in real-time.

What is the role of data analysis and traveler segmentation in a revenue management strategy? How are these insights used to make informed decisions and improve profitability?

Data analysis and traveler segmentation play a crucial role in implementing revenue management strategies. The synthesis of purchase data always leads to a demand curve. When we talk about seats on a flight or a bus trip, we are always selling a perishable item. Therefore, knowing at what price we can get a customer to purchase, what additional services they are willing to acquire, and how many seats are still available is essential to finding the optimal revenue for each flight or bus trip.

On the other hand, the observed prices, or price points, in the different demand curves are used at an aggregate level to make profitability decisions. In other words, since there are several price levels at which customers are willing to purchase a flight or bus trip, it is most appropriate to use the average of those prices weighted by the proportion of total customers who paid it to arrive at the average revenue necessary to achieve profitability.

How does technology influence revenue development and management? What should be considered when choosing tools or systems to monitor, analyze, and optimize additional revenue opportunities?

Technology is essential for revenue development and management, and its use is directly proportional to business outcomes. Cost-saving initiatives will always be fewer in number compared to the number of price experiments that can be conducted. No matter how small an operation is, whether it’s a few bus trips or flights, if you have systems that are at least capable of changing prices based on some parameter, there will always be opportunities to improve results by increasing revenue.

When it comes to factors to consider when choosing tools, I believe usability is a more relevant factor than the science behind the decision-making process. Pricing decisions are enriched by the number of data points that make up our demand curve. Therefore, the more prices we experiment with, the more accurate the models will be in predicting at what level we will “close the sale.” Additionally, the ability to extract and organize information on the performance of the offered prices is also indispensable. In the words of Peter Drucker, a scholar in the field of management, “What gets measured gets managed,” so information extraction is fundamental for an optimal revenue maximization strategy.

Get to know all the members of the Reservamos Advisory Board and discover the expert voices that guide our path every day, towards becoming the technological ally for any bus company.

We integrated Costaline’s electronic wallet into their eCommerce

We integrated Costaline’s electronic wallet into their eCommerce

Every purchase made through Costaline’s eCommerce becomes more valuable for their travelers’ wallets and increases loyalty.

At Reservamos SaaS, we are constantly working hand in hand with our partners to offer digital experiences that meet travelers’ needs.

One of the most important stages in the digital sales process is payment. In addition to ensuring secure and reliable sales for both bus companies and travelers, it is also essential to have a wide variety of payment methods and options that help increase user loyalty and provide benefits for their purchases.

With the help of our technology, allied brands like Costaline continuously integrate innovative functionalities into their eCommerce to make it more appealing to users.

One of the functionalities recently integrated by Reservamos SaaS’s development team into Costaline’s eCommerce is the brand’s electronic wallet. This integration allows users to register for the electronic wallet and start enjoying its benefits.

During the digital sales funnel, travelers can see if the selected route has the option to pay with the wallet activated. They can then choose the amount of balance they want to use during the payment process and pay the remaining balance with any other payment method they choose.

At the end of the purchase, travelers can see the details of the balance used from their electronic wallet and deducted from the total cost. Additionally, the travel ticket displays the different payment methods used during their purchase processes.

With the help of Reservamos SaaS’s technology implemented in our partners’ digital channels, it is much easier for bus brands like Costaline to integrate functionalities like their electronic wallet and:

  • Provide more convenient, easy, and secure purchasing experiences for travelers.
  • Have data on travelers’ behavior.
  • Create personalized promotions and loyalty programs.
  • Increase traveler retention and boost frequent purchases.

Reservamos SaaS empowers bus companies’ innovation capabilities to enhance their brands’ competitiveness in response to travelers’ demands and needs. In this way, we ensure that each solution and integration generates a more significant impact on their businesses.

Dash Center: The performance of your pricing strategies in one place

Dash Center: The performance of your pricing strategies in one place

Analyzing the impact of your pricing strategies has never been so accessible and accurate.

Introducing Dash Center, integrated with BrainPROS, our Revenue Management solution. Its purpose is to provide a centralized hub for analyzing the results and progress of pricing strategies implemented in the eCommerce platforms of bus companies.

Dash Center is available to our partners subscribed to the Pricing Strategies module of BrainPROS, and it serves as the perfect tool for applying intelligent pricing to different routes and monitoring their impact through various charts, making the analysis even more precise.

Through Dash Center, our partners have access to charts displaying the following indicators:

  • Revenue
  • Daily revenue for the period
  • Average ticket price
  • Daily average ticket price for the period
  • Sales with advance booking
  • Average days of advance booking
  • Tickets sold
  • Daily tickets sold for the period
  • Trips
  • Advance booking
  • Average revenue per trip
  • Average tickets sold per trip
  • ASK (Available Seat Kilometers)
  • RASK (Revenue per Available Seat Kilometer)

These charts depict the trends of the past 13 months with daily date comparisons.

With Dash Center, our partners have access to key information for measuring the performance of their pricing strategies over time, ensuring results that boost revenue, and occupancy on each route and schedule, and encourage early bookings.

If you want to access the future of intelligent pricing, schedule a free 30-minute demo. Contact us at [email protected].

We simplify the travelers’ search experience

We simplify the travelers’ search experience

Through enhancements in the search and geolocation process on the eCommerce platform, we drive traveler conversion.

The search and purchasing flow process for travelers is crucial to ensure higher conversion rates. That’s why the Reservamos SaaS product and technology team constantly implements improvements to our allies’ eCommerce platforms, aiming to provide more effective experiences for travelers that translate into increased purchases for bus companies.

As part of this search optimization, the development and product team made improvements related to geolocation aspects to help travelers simplify processes and reach their desired outcomes more accurately.

Each of these updates focuses on both the visual aspect of the eCommerce platform (UI) and user experience optimization, aiming to generate optimal interaction between travelers and our allies’ digital sales channels (UX).

The updates include:

Location-based origin suggestion: Through this update in the search engine, the eCommerce platform adjusts to travelers by showing them the nearest terminal to start their adventure.

Swap origin and destination: With this optimization, it’s easier for travelers to exchange the origin and destination points with a single button.

In addition to these efforts, the development and product team has monitored these functionalities using the A/B testing tool to measure and compare their impact on a segment of each ally’s user base. This approach has facilitated the identification of which updates generate significant improvements in travelers’ behavior and an increase in conversion rates and sales.

With the assistance of Reservamos SaaS technology and our support, we help bus companies ensure more satisfying purchasing experiences tailored to travelers’ preferences.

Greyhound bus line achieves a +60% increase in online sales in less than 2 years.

Greyhound bus line achieves a +60% increase in online sales in less than 2 years.

The ideal eCommerce to conquer new markets

Greyhound, one of the leading bus companies with operations in the United States, Canada, Australia, England, and Mexico, trusted Reservamos to launch its online sales channel in the Hispanic market, which concentrates on routes between Mexico and the south of the United States.

Smart platforms for smart travelers 

Greyhound had specific needs and goals that ranged from generating data intelligence to helping them make decisions, making their online sales channel the highest percentage of total ticket sales.

The Reservamos SaaS technology helped Greyhound analyze user behavior, create advanced sales strategies, partner with other companies to connect destinations, and develop marketing strategies to drive users to its website.

The eCommerce solution allows Greyhound to have an effective service that provides a high conversion rate, an optimized purchase funnel, and a friendly user interface and experience, accompanied by continuous support to achieve sales goals.

Competitive and differentiated eCommerce

The series of modules from the eCommerce solution enabled Greyhound to offer a more flexible, dynamic experience for digital travelers.

Greyhound analyzed user behavior, integrated eCommerce into their loyalty program, and joined the most popular payment methods and anti-fraud functions. And made strategic alliances with the Estrella Blanca bus line to connect destinations.

Another benefit was that by having sales in advance for online purchases, Greyhound used the data generated to understand the traveler better and personalize the experience with the help of our analytical module, which is key to its current operations. Through a better understanding of the traveler, they have refined their strategies in operations, marketing, and communication by providing personalized service.

Personalized innovation

Among the great advantages of Reservamos SaaS eCommerce for Greyhound was to customize it and integrate solutions according to their needs.

Impact achieved:

  • Fare Classes
    • An innovation developed by the Reservamos SaaS team together with Greyhound was the creation of fare classes. When choosing a destination and time, each schedule shows three rates differentiated by prices and benefits, divided into Economic, Extra Economic, and Flexible, the last with the greatest benefit for the traveler.
  • Online sales
    • The Greyhound bus line has increased the percentage of online sales by +60% in less than 2 years.
  • Average transaction value
    • Since the implementation of the online sales channel, the average transaction value has been increasing year after year, with a 5x growth since the start of online sales.
  • Mobile devices
    • The mobile web channel has represented the highest growth in sales, thanks to its technology and usability on any mobile device. The Reservamos SaaS team decided to implement Android and iOS applications to migrate their travelers to a higher converting channel. Currently, 50% of online sales are on mobile devices. Furthermore, these Apps have a rating of 4.4 on Android, 4.3 on iOS, and +9K downloads altogether.
  • Payment approval rate
    • At Reservamos SaaS, we managed to reach a rate of 96%, maintaining an average payment approval rate of 83% with an upward trend.
  • Percentage of chargebacks (fraud)
    • Thanks to our technology, experience, and continued collaboration with Greyhound and the payment gateways, they achieved an average of less than 1% in chargebacks in the last three years.

Implemented strategies:

  • Use of dynamic prices.
  • Offer discounts every day, and reduced prices.
  • Move terminals closer to urban areas with a high residential concentration, avoiding city centers.
  • Establish a strong presence in digital media.

Guiding the growth and success of the bus lines’ digital channels means working closely with them to innovate and offer solutions that adapt to the digital travelers’ needs. It is essential to understand the users’ interaction when looking for and purchasing their bus tickets to create dynamic solutions that adapt to what travelers require.