While we are making some hassle-free travel reservations at Booking.com, Shalini Sukumar is the brains behind creation of the hassle-free customer experiences.
3XE Digital Conversion speaker Shalini Sukumar is a Product Owner Data Science at Booking.com. Responsible for using data to drive product decisions, Shalini looks at creating best possible customer experiences at Booking.com. Originally from India, Shalini moved to Singapore to pursue Bachelors in Computer Engineering from Nanyang Technological University. Subsequently, she spent 12 years in Singapore and 3 years in the United States of America, before starting her journey with Booking.com in Amsterdam.
Booking.com is one of the largest travel e-commerce companies in the world. Booking.com was a small Dutch startup in 1996 that had a mission to empower people to experience the world. With its investment in digital technology and care for best travel experiences, Booking.com became a household name. Describing Booking.com, Shalini says ‘We’re not only connecting travellers with their ideal stay, but we’re passionate about powering their travel experience from start to finish. Everything we do at Booking.com supports our goal to help our customers discover and enjoy the world, and our partners to grow their businesses via our platform.’
At Booking.com the data analysis and algorithms developed by the Data Science teams touch all customer interactions, and that contributes to more than 1.4M room nights being reserved per day across Booking.com’s website and mobile apps. Supported by ongoing experimentation, the teams continuously leverage data to enhance the user experience, working in close collaboration with developers, business and product owners to meet the unique needs of different types of traveller and further the company’s mission of empowering people to experience the world .
From our interaction with Shalini Sukumar on Booking.com and her role as a speaker at 3XE Digital Conversion Conference on 8th Feb 2018:
3XE: Tell us about your journey in the digital world and one thing that inspired you here.
Shalini: As a technology enthusiast, I have worked in various technology roles in the past, which range from a summer internship at ebay, to being a developer for 4 years with Credit Suisse Investment Banking division. Before joining Booking.com, I worked as a Data Product Owner at a Big Data startup, Crayon Data, in Singapore.
The Digital Age has taken the world by storm in the 21st century. I am excited for the impact big data could have on technology and passionate about witnessing the growth of data science as a discipline.
3XE: What will you be speaking about at 3XE? Can you also highlight the 3 takeaways that you think delegates will get from your presentation?
Shalini: I will talk about Personalisation and Experimentation at Booking.com, and the emphasis will be on –
- Product loves Data. Address Personalisation.
- Test and Retest everything.
- Less is more.
3XE: What emerging trends will affect your business during 2018?
Shalini: From products to experiences: Travel as a commodity is outpacing the demand for goods. On an average, we see people are willing to spend more on recreation, travel, and eating out, than on consumer durables.
Airlines becoming more accessible: Thanks to a mix of low fuel prices, international competition, and low-cost entrants – we see an existence of intense competition in the airline industry that is causing downward pricing pressures. That may be tough news for airline industry margins, but low fares drive more sales throughout the travel sector.
The new cool for travel destinations are the lesser-known: While the city lights of Paris and the buzz of Tokyo will always be appealing to those afflicted with wanderlust, there’s an increasing desire to explore smaller and less popular destinations. In these cities and countries, people are discovering uninterrupted local culture and authentic experiences.
Accessibility to every corner of the world: Many airlines are offering low-cost flights to local destinations, making weekend getaways to faraway lands feasible for an average traveler. As travel becomes more convenient and affordable, there will be an increase in the total number of tourists heading to your remote region.
People are opening up their houses for stay: There is an increasing trend for people to rent out homes during holidays. This is turning out to be an unique opportunity in a currently saturated market.