Using Data & Analytics To Plan Your Perfect Ski Trip

Jasmin Moussaoui our consultant managing the role
Posting date: 4/4/2019 8:55 AM
The Ski season may be drawing to a close, but it’s never too early to start planning for next year. Born and raised in the mountains of Austria, I have been skiing all of my life. For me, it’s about freedom, enjoying the views and forgetting about everything else. 

But, since I’ve stepped into the world of Data & Analytics, I started to asked myself “what can I learn from my work that I can apply to my skiing”? After having a look around, I began to discover ways in which Data could support my passion. I’ve pulled together some of the most interesting things I’ve discovered and created this handy guide to help you prepare for your next trip.

Here’s how you can use data to create the perfect ski trip. 

Follow the snow


Anyone who has skied before knows about the uncertainty before a trip. Will there be enough snow? Will the weather be good? Which resort is the most suited to my ability? Fortunately, somebody has already pulled this information together for you. Two "web spiders" were built via Scrapy, a Python framework used for data extraction, the first of which extracted ski resort data. The second spider, on the other hand, extracted daily snowfall data for each resort (2009 - present).

After collecting Data from more than 600 ski resorts and spitting it into 7 main regions, the spiders were able to form a conclusion. The framework then pulled out key metrics, including the difficulty of runs, meaning that skiers are now able to decide which resort is most suitable for their ability. 

As for the weather, onthesnow.com has recorded snowfall data from all major resorts, every year since 2009. We all know that good snow makes any trip better, so the collected data here will help skiers ensure they are prepared for the right weather, or even plan their trip around where the snow will be best. 

Optimise your skis


Ski manufacturing is a refined and complicated process, with each ski requiring many different materials to be built. Unfortunately, this often results in the best skis running out quickly as supply outspeeds demand.  To help speed up and improve the process, companies are implementing technologies like IBM Cognos* that monitor entire supply chains so that no matter how much demand increases, they have the materials to meet it.  

Additionally, since the majority of companies have become more data-driven, production time has been reduced by weeks. Predictions for future demand has also become 50% more accurate, resulting in a drop of 30% idle time on production lines.

Skip the Queue


Tired of queuing for the ski lift? There’s good news. As they begin to make the most of data, ski resorts are introducing RFID* (Radio Frequency Identification) systems. These involve visitors purchasing cards with RFID chips included, allowing them to skip queues at the lifts as there is no need to check for fake passes. The data can then be utilised for gamification platforms to turn a skier’s time on the slopes into an interactive experience. 

The shift towards Big Data not only has advantages for the visitors, but the management are also benefiting. In the past, it has been difficult to analyse skier’s data. Now, with automated and proper data management, the numbers can be crunched seamlessly and marketing campaigns can be directed at how people actually choose to ski.  

Carve a Better Technique


Skiing isn’t always easy, especially if you haven’t grown up with it. Usually, ski instructors are the solution but, in the age of Data & Analytics, there are other solutions. Jamie Grant and co-founder Pruthvikar Reddy have created an app called Carv 2.0, which allows you to be your own teacher. It works by using a robust insert that fits between the shell of your ski boots and the liner. It then gathers data from 48 pressure sensitive pads, and nine motion sensors. 

This data is fed to a connected match-box size tracker unit, sitting on the back of your boots, before being relayed via Bluetooth to the Carv App on your phone. Carv can then measure your speed, acceleration and ski orientation a staggering 300 times a second.  Thanks to a complex set of algorithms this data is then converted into an easy to follow graphic display on your phone’s screen as well as verbal feedback from Carvella. The accuracy of this real-time data could make it a better instructor than any individual person. 

Data & Analytics are helping streamline every part of our lives. Whilst the above can’t guarantee a perfect ski trip, they can help us minimise risks and optimize our performance and experience. 

If you’re able to use data to improve day-to-day living, we may have a role for you. Take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with our expert consultants.  

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We recently spoke to Sarah Nooravi, an Analytics professional with a specialism in Marketing who was named one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Analytics.  Sarah found herself working in Analytics after being attracted to the culture, creativity and the opportunity to be challenged. 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The More You Keep Customers Long-Term, The Better Your Business Will Do: A Q&A with Corin Rogerson

"I like thinking about how customers experience things and how you’re able to effectively tailor your business to them." We recently had the opportunity to speak with Corin Rogerson, a CRM Specialist and customer champion to discuss all things CRM.  Beginning in the digital space she has taken her holistic overview of customer experience with her throughout her career and built CRM programmes for some of the biggest brands on the market. So how has CRM changed during this time and where does she see it going?  As we see a general trend towards digital first businesses, online platforms and integrated apps it goes without saying that CRM is having to follow suit. For Corin, potentially one of the biggest changes driven by this is this marketing technology landscape:  “I think the main thing I’ve seen is when I first started in CRM there were lots of tools that were offering the ability to communicate with someone through one channel […] and now what I’m quite pleased to see is that some companies are building solutions from the ground up.” This shift from bolted together CRM/ESP’s to streamlined platforms offering the opportunity to build multi-touchpoint journeys now makes it far easier to build synchronised customer experiences.  Hand in hand with technology is the ever-increasing presence of data in decision making, and a growing factor in successful CRM: "A few years ago everyone was talking about Big Data, and there are more tools able to process that data now". But within this is the value that Data can bring bought about through "thinking about the Data that is actually important to you and what you can actually use, rather than just pushing everything in."  But simply having the Data there isn’t enough to immediately achieve results and one of the biggest issues Corin has faced is around data latency and the impact this has on communication:  “In the past if you had Data in 24 hours that was perfectly fine, but now you really need to know virtually in real time what a customer has done to communicate with them effectively […] for instance if a customer’s payment details have expired and there is a lag between them updates and an email going out it can be a really confusing communication.”  However, that doesn’t mean that Data hasn’t played a large part in her successes. Customer Data has huge ties to personalisation (another noteworthy trend in the CRM space) and is often the best way to demonstrate the value a customer has to a business as shown through Corin’s biggest successes:  “Where I’ve been really successful in a company or working on individual projects is always where the CRM team works really closely with the Data team. Over time you can put in really intelligent campaigns.”  So, what is the importance of CRM in today’s climate?  Having experienced the power of CRM across businesses at different stages of their journey CRM is ultimately really important for growth. In the case of start-ups “the focus is very much on acquisition and that is partly because of the priorities in early life” but no matter the size of the business “it’s very expensive to acquire a new customer”. As such, Corin suggests bringing in a CRM team and shifting towards a culture of retention over rapid acquisition as soon as possible:  “As soon as you bring a CRM team on boards […] you can start looking at your existing customer base and seeing how likely they are to repeat purchase […] the more you keep those customers long term, the better your business will do.” Her biggest pet peeve linked to CRM and growth? Data: “There’s nothing more frustrating than not having the right Data available”. Although the overriding advice is ASAP, it’s with the caveat of an adequate Data infrastructure to allow for the insights to be leveraged.  It feels uncomfortable not to acknowledge the elephant in the room and the impact COVID-19 has had on how brands market to customers:  “When the pandemic hit a lot of businesses had to take a step back and think, what are our values, what is our proposition and how can we help people in context to the pandemic.” In an ideal world this would then feed into the CRM team yet we’ve all experienced “empty examples of communications from companies who feel they have to say something about it […] and it doesn’t work, and I think it actually does damage to the brand." Corin’s advice on this? "If I was in a CRM team that is what I would be thinking about. Making sure communication is relevant, it’s useful and it’s something that you will then be remembered for when everything is over.” If you’re looking for an opportunity in the world of CRM, or to build your Customer Insight team, we may be able to help. Take a look at our latest opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to learn more. 

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