Mercator out of the United Arab Emirates is a leading software provider for the travel, transport, and logistics industry. Our colleagues Ingolf Mollat,Volkmar Foelsch, and Thomas Hermanns were at the Mercator customer forum on October 19 and 20, 2015 at the Jumeirah Creekside Hotel, in Dubai.
RAPID, a cargo and passenger revenue management conference , took place in Dubai on October 19 and 20. It attracted around 80 participants from all over the world, including representatives from a number of airlines, such as United Airlines, British Airways, Jet Blue, Philippine Airlines, and Avianca. Blue Yonder was there as a Mercator strategic partner in the area of predictive analytics for the second time, following the SkyChain conference in June in Geneva.
On the first day, a team of three from Blue Yonder, representing sales, data science, and consulting, together with speakers from Mercator highlighted the potential of predictive analytics and presented concrete applications in the area of revenue management. Mercator COO, Eric Selvadurai, who chaired the conference, is integrating predictive analytics as an essential new feature in the coming version of the RAPID software, which will be on the market in late 2016.
The two main topics of the conference were mobility and predictive analytics, each with their own breakout sessions on the second day. Blue Yonder and Mercator led the sessions on predictive analytics, which prompted lively discussions on possible use cases, such as predicting bad debt and forecasting daily sales. The consencus of the group was that additional use cases, such as net booking prediction, would be outside of the scope of the Mercator revenue management solution, but indirectly affect important influencing factors for revenue forecasts .
On the evening of the first day, there was a real highlight — a dinner in the desert between Dubai and Oman, sponsored by Mercator. The drive there through the desert with 15 all-terrain vehicles in a convoy was an experience in itself. After dinner, we had interesting discussions while enjoying shisha (tobacco smoked in hookahs) and tea under a clear desert sky. We talked about the fundamental effects of predictive analytics on the classic organizational structure of airlines. The discussion topics included revenue management as a new profit center—because that’s where most corporate data exists, and how that data can be used internally in other other areas.