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Winter 2016
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Pradeep Bandla
Vice President at RTS
Dear friends,
As we begin 2017 with a new set of resolutions and goals, I want to spend a few moments to look back at the last quarter of 2016. It was probably one of the busiest ones we’ve had in RTS for quite a while due to, among other activities, our participation in a number of conferences including our flagship event – the RTS Annual summit, details of which are included in the Scoop section. We aim to incorporate functionalities that provide the most value to the client community and with that objective in mind, learn about the product plan voting survey effort that we initiated in the Scoop section. RTS continues to grow and in the same section you get a chance to welcome the latest addition to the team. 2016 was a year in which we invested a significant amount of time and effort on expanding our solution portfolio and things were particularly hectic as we approached the end of the year on the product development front as we made good progress in meeting our completion timelines. Details of these efforts can be found in the Product Happenings section. We at RTS constantly strive to give back to our community and you can read about the innovative manner in which one of our team members does so in the Global Citizen section. And last but not the least, in the Guest Oracle section, we try to demystify the concept that has lately been getting a lot of buzz in the industry – Big data.
On a personal note, 2016 will go down as one of the most sleepless years of my career, thanks to a hectic travel schedule that included visits to a dozen countries across three continents with one of the objectives being showcasing our new solutions. So the fact that we were able to execute our new product initiatives and client enhancements as planned made 2016 an extremely gratifying year. I hope all of you didn’t have too many sleepless nights in 2016 and were able to spend some quality time with family and friends during the holiday season. We look forward to continuing to work closely with you in 2017 and beyond.
Sincerely
Pradeep Bandla

Our services

 

Airlines

Passenger & Cargo Pricing Revenue Management

Cruise Ferry

Highly accurate demand forecasts coupled with capabilities

Hospitality

RTS is a pioneer in hospitality revenue management

Logistics

Cutting costs & increasing efficiencies are not enough

Rail

Price sensitive revenue management Competitive insight

The Scoop

‘The Future is Today’ was the theme of our Annual RTS Summit and the summit included a number of discussions and presentations that certainly lived up to that billing. It was held in London from the 4th to the 6th of October. We were pleased to see clients and prospects from around the globe from both the cruise ferry and airline domains and were thrilled that this was the most highly attended RTS summit ever. We want to extend our profound thanks to all those delegates who were able to attend and thank them for their valuable participation. For those of you who could not make it, we missed you and sincerely hope you can join us next year. The summit saw presentations on a variety of interesting topics including plans for passenger and cargo solutions, how existing RTS solutions are helping our clients realize their revenue potential, and exciting emerging capabilities in the revenue management space.
We are deeply grateful to the tremendous support provided by our clients including presentations given by Color Line, United Airlines, Carus and our guest speakers. The product showcase that was organized during the networking break sessions where delegates could view the new features and solutions across the portfolio was also extremely well received.
The event provided a great opportunity for clients as well as prospects to learn, share, network and have fun at the same time. The voice of the customer session this year gave RTS management amazing insight into customer thoughts, concerns and compliments and we found the feedback invaluable.
As with every RTS summit, our main objective is infotainment and the fun activities included the cocktail reception to kick off the event and a London dinner cruise on the river Thames the next day. We hope all the delegates enjoyed attending the summit as much as we did hosting it.
Pradeep Bandla, Vice President of Passenger Solutions, attended the World Routes Conference held in Chengdu, China from September 25th through the 27th. The event is the largest one of its kind in the world where network planning departments of airlines, airports and suppliers converge. The SchedOpt solution which is the latest addition to the RTS solution portfolio garnered a lot of interest among the conference participants.
Interferry Conference
The 2016 Interferry Conference was held in Manila, Philippines from October 17th to 19th. This is the premier annual conference for the Cruise Ferry industry and this was attended by cruise ferry operators from around the globe. The event included a number of thought provoking presentations and opportunities to learn about challenges faced by ferry operators and potential solutions. It was organized by Interferry and more information about them can be found at http://www.interferry.com
We are pleased to welcome the newest member of the RTS family - Arsh Gujral. Arsh is an organized, creative and motivated professional with over 8 years of experience in business development and consultative sales. He has joined RTS as Manager – Sales and Account Management for RTS for India, Middle East and South East Asia regions. In his present role, he is involved in business development and sales strategy. He is responsible for maintaining strong relationships with key contacts in existing accounts, as well as developing new contacts and relationships with the C level executives in the Transportation Industry.
Arsh has worked in the past with organizations like Realization Technologies & Gartner, where he has been instrumental in kick starting sales teams, creating effective sales and go-to-market strategies and helping capture the market through active business development and product evangelism. He is a sales guy at heart and loves to chase his prospects to closure. Arsh holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration in Marketing and International Business and a Bachelor’s degree in Telecom Engineering. Arsh is currently honing his skills as a photographer besides his love for travel and reading.
At the RTS summit, we had presented the items on the passenger product roadmap. Our roadmap is influenced to a great extent by the enhancement requests of our clients as we obviously want to develop functionalities that provide most value to the community. In that spirit, an online voting tool was set up through which clients could prioritize the items they deem to be most important to them. This will help us determine the order in which these items can be slotted into upcoming releases. We thank all of you who have participated in the product plan voting process. Once we finalize the priority of the items based on your feedback, we will share that with you.

Product Happenings

ProfitOpt Release 2016.0
The development team has been working diligently to ensure that the next version of ProfitOpt (2016.0) can be released by the end of the year and we are pleased to announce that we have achieved that milestone. Some of the key features of this release include enhanced Graphical Look and Feel, Ad-hoc reporting and porting of all web related functionalities into the Work Bench. This release was well received by customers who got a sneak preview during the product showcase event at the summit. If you are interested in migrating to the new release, please get in touch with your Client Services manager.
ProfitOpt OD Release 2017.0
The latest addition to the growing list of solutions in the passenger portfolio is ProfitOpt OD which supports Origin Destination Revenue Management. Thanks to the diligent work of the team, development is complete and testing is currently in progress. The solution is scheduled to be ready for roll-out in 1Q2017. Some of the key functionalities of the solution include:
  • Generation of itinerary class demand forecasts.
  • Network Level Optimization using Itinerary class demand forecasts and fares to generate optimal leg cabin bid prices.
  • Optimization post-processor to generate leg level demand and fares.
  • Origin Destination level reports
For more information on the above solution please contact Pradeep.Bandla@rtscorp.com.
SchedOpt 2017.0
The Scheduling solution SchedOpt that RTS brought to market in early 2016 is being further enhanced. In addition to Schedule Management capabilities that were the focus of the initial release, this release adds Schedule Generation and Evaluation functionalities. Development of this release is nearly complete and is expected to be released in 1Q2017. Some of the key features of this release include:
  • Ability to generate an optimal ‘clean-sheet’ schedule considering demand, fares, costs, capacities, bookings and scheduling constraints with the objective of maximizing profitability.
  • Ability to evaluate profitability/demand coverage of schedules by performing what-if simulation analysis.
For more information on the above release please contact Pradeep.Bandla@rtscorp.com.
CargoProfitOpt 2016.0 Release into Production for Cruise Ferry
We are pleased to advise that the CargoProfitOpt 2016.0 for Cruise Ferry has been completed and deployed into Production use. This included three-client specific customizations along with 12 other significant enhancements in a range of modules and a small number of minor bug fixes.
Product Specific Enhancements (Cruise Ferry)
  1. Customizations to the ‘Customer Value’ calculations and customization to allow Market Rate Adjustments.
  2. ‘My View’ enhancements include ability to select multiple city pairs and-, multiple equipment types and allow additional flexibility to enter ‘Reading Day’ range when defining a user specific view.
  3. Improvements to ‘Automatic E-mail’ notifications sent from the system to include additional information relating to quarantined records or warning reasons.
  4. Modification to ‘Waitlist Ordering’ calculations to include rebates.
  5. Additional filter options in ‘Sailing Manager’ user interface for increased flexibility of filtering and sorting key departures.
CargoPriceOpt Integrated with Mercator SkyChain
We at RTS have always look forward to integrating with major cargo reservations providers to make our solutions attractive and seamless to use. Along the same lines, as part of a project to support the migration of a production system to a new booking system, RTS has completed the integration of CargoPriceOpt system with Mercator SkyChain reservations system in the fourth quarter of 2016. This involved testing all the new inbound interfaces and successfully merging this data within the existing database. The outbound rate sheets were modified to allow updates into SkyChain. In addition a new Spot Price interface was developed to pass as-hoc requests between the two systems in real-time. This release is in production for a major airline in Europe.

Global Citizen

In previous editions, our Global Citizen section highlighted our belief in giving back to the communities in which we live. Sometimes this may be certain dedicated hours to support community initiatives, or provision of services to the less fortunate. In this edition, we focus on a slightly different method of giving back.
Jason Codd
Jason Codd, our VP Services based out of Cape Town is a keen Amateur Radio (HAM) enthusiast, as well as an avid off road driver. Through his radio associations he is part of a volunteer organization called Hamnet, the Amateur Radio National Emergency Communications division. Hamnet provides communications for emergencies and can mobilize experienced communicators who with their own radio equipment will back up official channels or take over when all else fails.
Those of you familiar with Cape Town’s scenic splendor will also know that this is in large part due to the mountains and wilderness areas which are popular with the full range of visitors, from casual day walkers to experience mountaineers. Wilderness Search and Rescue (WSAR) was formed to assist these visitors when things go wrong, and Hamnet is involved in providing communications and logistical support to WSAR.
As a volunteer member, Jason may be called out at any time to provide logistical support, which may range from running communications for an operation and maintaining the relevant logs, through to ferrying personnel or equipment into the field or establishing and controlling helicopter landing zones for airborne evacuations.
Even with relatively simple rescue operations, these may take a couple of hours, with more complex ones extending over days. It is not unusual to spend the full night in the mountains, as often the activation calls will only occur near sunset when overdue parties are reported missing.
Furthermore, many weekends are taken up with training exercises to ensure that procedures are kept polished.
With the nature of RTS’ global staffing, Jason is able to use flexible working hours to accommodate both work functions and rescue assistance, although there are some times when volunteering is simply not possible. Fortunately, the very nature of the WSAR structure recognizes this, and with a pool of available volunteers, there are very few instances where no support is provided.
Typical rescues:
Whilst there is no such thing as a typical rescue, the most common are people who are unprepared for the mountains. The weather in the Cape changes very quickly, and trail difficulty is underestimated. The most common incidents are therefore those who are ill prepared for a trail, either through lack of clothing or water, or are not physically fit enough for chosen routes.
This is followed by those who get lost or mildly injured on trails, but this can also escalate into serious injuries, or even in the worst cases, death.
This year’s closing statement by the Hamnet Western Cape Director pretty much sums up what it is that Jason is involved with: “Remember that opportunities to help our fellow beings in times of need and disaster, take no holidays, so I ask that you remain vigilant and prepared to assist in whatever way you can”
Employee of the Month
Continuing from the past editions of the newsletter, this section highlights our commitment to recognize talent and significant contribution of RTS team members under "RTS Employee of the Month" initiative. During the second half of 2016 - Mr. Gourav Saini, Mr. Sanjeev Kumar, Mr. Raviesh, Mrs. Neha, Mr. Neeraj Kumar & Mr. Anish were recognised as Employee of Month for July, August, September, October, November & December 2016 months respectively. The "RTS Employee of the Month" initiative has been instrumental in providing a competitive streak to the RTS employees to raise the bar and the respective twelve winners for this award for Year 2016 says it all.

Guest Oracles

Age of Analytics in Revenue Management
Revenue Management (RM) benefits have been observed in many domains but RM is predominantly used in the travel and hospitality industries. These industries are extremely data rich and have leveraged the analytical capabilities of RM. RM solutions have been one of the biggest owners of reservation/bookings data and have been doing a relatively decent job in handling large data. However with changing times, new data sources such as the internet, industry and social media have cropped up, thus posing a challenge on how they can be leveraged optimally. Data from these various sources have different formats, are unstructured and are difficult to measure using the same protocols. Moreover this data changes so rapidly that there is a good possibility that the data originated at the starting time becomes stale very quickly.
Can Big Data help industries more effectively gain critical business insight? Yes it can, however the ability to help lies in how we use big data which can make a big difference. Big data can help in better data analytics that can provide improved insight and can aid revenue managers in defining better pricing strategies. Big data can help improve price-demand estimates, provide better controls for business mix and pricing strategy and enhance the optimization process.
Price transparency, competitor’s pricing data, and proliferation of third party distribution channels mean more and different sources of data that have varied influences on pricing today. Currently forecasting and optimization processes typically run overnight in a batch mode to provide the price recommendations. However the fact that web data changes at a much faster rate may result in money being left on the table. Therefore it is required to enhance the forecasting and optimization techniques to incorporate real time data coming from social media to provide insight into changes in prices in real time.
Big data technology is useful in closely monitoring the competitor’s prices and pricing own products in a better way that would give an airline or a cruise ferry a competitive edge. This allows them to make quick price changes in accordance with the incoming demand, and competitor’s prices.
Real time computations can be done for the cancellation rates and the show up rates, thus adjusting the overbooking levels and demand in real time. Real time computation benefit can be leveraged in optimization that can provide the updated booking availability for each class for every segment. This allows operators to view up to date overbooking levels, demand, bookings and availability for each market, rather than waiting for the overnight service to run. Advanced analytical techniques when coupled with text mining and web analytics can give insight on what exactly passengers are looking for and when, that will allow companies to offer targeted products to the customers who have a higher propensity to buy them.
Having said that, when it comes to the use of Big Data in revenue management decision systems, it is very important to treat each new data source carefully and ask the following questions:
  • Does it contribute to new information that has not been provided in the data currently used?
  • Does it change the nature of the decisions that you are making by offering a new way of thinking about the problem?
  • Does it improve the performance standards that have been set such as improving forecast accuracy or a better pricing strategy?
  • We would love to hear your thoughts on how your company envisages leveraging big data to improve your revenues.
Blog by Nishit Kumar
Business Analyst at RTS

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