Always Be Prepared: How transport Companies Use PredictHQ’s Intelligent Event Data

Richard Bray
Chief Operating Officer

Billions of people travel every day – and a large proportion of those are traveling for events. Knowing which events will drive people movement days, weeks and months in advance enables demand forecasting teams to calibrate your strategies to make the most of every demand anomaly.

The PredictHQ team knows the challenges of predicting these anomalies because many of our customers are transport companies such as Uber, Virgin Hyperloop and one of the world’s leading scooter hire companies. (We also work with several major airlines, but how airlines use demand intelligence is a whole different ball game)

Armed with historical data, transport companies can guess when they might be busy. But you can’t bet your business on guessing.

The most effective and prosperous businesses go beyond “we had a spike here last year” to understand why demand has surged, so they can prepare for onslaughts of potential customers.

This advance warning enables transport companies to carve out market share in the hyper-competitive world of transport where there are endless ride share, bike share, scooter share, hire-able vehicles as well as public transport options.

Demand intelligence for transport – which events matter most?

Events impact transport companies in two ways:

  1. Driving additional bookings or potential bookings.

  2. Driving demand causing additional traffic or operational challenges for transport teams.

PredictHQ’s systems find, verify and rank around half a million new events each month. Not all of these events are relevant to every business so identifying correlation between your historical demand data and PredictHQ event data.

Once you have achieved correlation, you will be able to identify which kinds of events are the most relevant for your company. PredictHQ covers 19 categories across 30,000 cities.  Here are some of the most common high-impact events for transport companies:

  • Sports games draw large crowds of both local and out-of-town attendees, many of whom will be using transport services to get to and from the sports venues. Concerts have a similar impact

  • Conferences and Expos are particularly impactful for transport companies as they draw large crowds of people both into a city and then throughout it. Many of these events are recurring, but 85% change location and date each time, which means relying on historical data won’t work.

  • School holidays are impactful for transport companies both in the huge surge in demand they can cause but these events can also cause drop-offs that are important to be aware of ahead of time so you can optimize your team.

  • Community events are often smaller events, but they can cause unexpected crowds seeking transport as well as cluster to create perfect storms of demand that are equivalent to major impact events.

Airport delays are also particularly relevant to transport companies, many of which target the thousands of people arriving by air each day.

Every PredictHQ event is verified with accurate location data. This requires us to update more than half of the events we aggregate because data is missing or has incorrect geocodes when our data processing systems ingested them. You can filter events by city, airport or by latitude and longitude.

Know which events matter most with Local Rank

Even once you have filtered events by location, you will still turn up hundreds and even thousands of events each month. That’s why our unique ranking models are so important, because with them you can identify which events will have the most impact on your business.

PHQ Rank™ gives the potential impact of an event independent of its geographical location, therefore the most useful rank for many companies is Local Rank™. Local Rank™ is PredictHQ’s rank for predicting the impact of an event on its particular location, such as the city or town where the event is being held.

Local Rank™ factors in an event’s location within a city or suburb, how built up an area is, its transport routes and many other factors. It quantifies the local impact an event of 10,000 people being held in the heart of a big city such as London would have, compared with the local impact a similar sized event would have if held in an outer suburb of London or a smaller town. Local Rank™ is a log scale numerical value between 0 and 100 to efficiently indicate the event’s estimated local impact.

TO USE LOCAL RANK:

Filter and sort on the Local Rank™ value in your API calls to return those events with a higher local rank first. This helps you filter out larger city or region wide events that are further away from a store.

The relevance parameter is a powerful feature that allows you to specify multiple options that the API will use to dynamically calculate relevance in your search results.

In this example you can tell the API to use location_around and local_rank in relevance. This will mean both the distance from the store (radial search, mentioned above) and the local rank value will go into calculating relevance for the events returned in an API query.

You can then sort by relevance to find the events with a high local impact that are close to the store.

Uncovering Perfect Storms of Demand

While the ranks are useful, transport companies that only optimize for the highest ranked events would be missing out. Because perfect storms of demand are where the most gold is for many companies.

Perfect storms of demand are when small to medium sized events cluster to create major impact. It’s easy to know when big events are coming, but the real competitive advantage comes from knowing when perfect storms of demand with similar or even greater impact are coming.

Identifying perfect storms of demand is impossible without PredictHQ’s ranked events. They can be identified at the city or airport level, as well as around a particular geolocation. Using Local Rank and Radial Search, companies are able to spot these storms before they’re caught in the middle of them unprepared. Knowing they’re coming means you can have the right amount of staff and vehicles ready to go, while your competitors are flailing.

(We have some exciting news about perfect storm identification coming shortly that we can’t wait to share with you.)

Adding event visibility into your workflow

PredictHQ customers have visibility into which categories and cities they can currently access via our Control Center. From here, customers can also add other categories, change their event visibility and add other cities.

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All of the features mentioned above require huge quantities of verified and ranked event data. Sourcing enough data may seem manageable for teams at first — before they try to use the data in their models, and realize that aggregation is only the first step towards the demand intelligence they need.

PredictHQ aggregates and standardizes hundreds of event sources into a single API. All the events supplied by our providers are processed through our Event Pipeline. We detect and monitor a variety of data issues throughout the process (such as but not limited to; duplicates, geocoding, spam) to ensure data quality.

We work closely with teams set up their access to our demand intelligence and learn to use it as effectively as possible. Get in touch if your team wants to stop missing demand spikes.