With the leverage of real-time digital platforms and moment-to-moment connectivity to market moves and customer trends, the era of the Revenue Guru, or otherwise known as the Chief Revenue Officer, is emerging across every customer-facing industry. Pricing adjustments for goods and services have been around for a long time. Post-Christmas sales, end of season markdowns, and peak airline pricing for high travel times around holidays or discounts for low-travel periods has been around for a long time. However, now the pricing game is focused on minute-to-minute trends. Hotels and airlines are aggressively leading the trend dialing pricing up or down based on real-time demand and observable trends.
I recently reviewed pricing for a trip to Dallas and found a Coach “Comfort” (not really but that’s what they call it), for $780 round-trip. I closed out of Delta’s website to take care of something else and returned in about 15 minutes. A $780 fare was nowhere to be found, and the price was now $890! Delta’s version of Watson is lurking in the background dialing pricing based on algorithms to predict demand, enabling pricing to the moment.
Of course we also all know about Uber’s “surge pricing.” Even more interesting are Amazon’s new bookstores. There is no pricing indicated on the shelves. You’ll need to use your smartphone, or go to a pricing kiosk to find out that a book costs. Why, because if Where’s Waldo is in high-demand, Amazon jacks the price. With this trend, we are getting more calls to recruit Chief Revenue Officers, the professional pricing gurus who will insure that you pay up, or save some, based on what they learn real-time in cyberspace.