High-impact demand alerts and how to get started with PredictHQ Notifications

Published on July 28, 2020
Jay Janarthanan
Product Manager

Our Notifications product is designed so that anyone in your business can receive alerts and respond to incoming demand anomalies as soon as possible – without writing a single line of code.

Events are demand causal factors for businesses. While major attended events such as big conferences and sports games are yet to return in many cities of the USA, it’s a bit of a myth that impactful events that cause people movement and purchasing aren’t happening.

In fact, if we take a quick look events in the USA for August 2020 that are ranked as significant or major impact:

  • There are just over 600 attended events (such as concerts, conferences, sports games) scheduled. While this is about 10% of high impact events than pre-COVID times, that’s still a lot of high-impact events you want to make sure are factored into your plans.

  • There are more than 2000 scheduled and broad impact events such as key university and college events; school and public holidays; as well as observances.

  • And over the last three months, there have been ~10,000 unscheduled events across the USA such as severe weather, natural disasters and Health Warnings that companies need to know and respond to as quickly as possible.

PredictHQ Notifications is the tool to do exactly that. It takes only a few minutes to set up a Notification, and they’re easy to replicate for each key location, such as per store, hotel or warehouse. You can set up alerts for new events, when key locations pass a certain level of impact as well as changes to events, which is particularly crucial in this COVID-19 disrupted year. PredictHQ has tracked and implemented more than 3 million changes to events in 2020.

To get you started, here are some of the high impact Notifications our early customers have been benefiting from. While event impact will vary depending on your business and the kind of event, these are great start to discovering the power of rapid strategic responses informed by verified intelligent event data.

The Notifications covered below are:

  1. A city-wide alert for a live unscheduled event update, such as a new health warning,  incoming severe weather, or a natural disaster for transport companies, so they can ensure they have enough assets and drivers in place to pick up the initial surge in demand, and then to minimize damage and wastage.

  2. An alert for when a cluster of events in part of town may drive demand up across the board. While large events are yet to return in much of the USA, high-impact clusters of smaller events are hefty opportunities that retail, transport and travel companies are tracking closely as they recover and bring their staff back on board to meet demand.

  3. An alert for when impactful events will occur within a 2 mile radius of a food retail store, such as a coffee chain, a fast-food outlet or restaurant venue, as you will need more staff and ingredients on hand than an average day.

  4. An alert for when larger attended events return, as they are beginning to in Europe and Asia, for airlines and accommodation providers.

High-impact Notification 1: Citywide unscheduled events

Unscheduled events have a significant impact on businesses and the constantly changing operational environment. Knowing about unscheduled events immediately enables businesses can track and plan for these changes. Severe weather and health warnings will drive down demand for many businesses, and it can also drive up demand for certain industries like CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods) providers, grocers, and pharmacies as people prepare. 

For this example, we’re going to set up a notification for a CPG provider that specializes in milk and dairy products for major grocery providers. Their supply chain supplies perishable goods so it’s important for them to understand demand to minimize waste. The company’s area manager needs to know as soon as possible about unscheduled events that could result in a rush for essentials buying that corresponds with these events. At the same time, this company’s logistics team needs to know when there will be major disruptions to the supply chain (such as severe weather), leading to empty shelves or perished goods.

Setting up a Notification for severe weather and natural disasters is a simple way to ensure you always have up-to-the-minute and accurate information on the state of play, so you can respond strategically. 

Here's how to set up this alert:

  1. Open the PredictHQ Notifications platform in Control Center.

  2. Name your new configuration something specific and clear as this is what your Notification will be called in your email digest.

  3. There are two kinds of alerts you can set up. In this case, we’re going with an Event Change notification, so click that box (we’ll explore Aggregate event impact in a later example).

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4. Then set a location centre point. This can be an address, such a store or key site. In this case, we've entered the city of Miami.

5. Set your radius of interest. In this case, we’ve picked 15 miles to cover the central city.

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6. Select the events you need to be alerted for from our 18 categories. In this case Severe Weather and Natural Disasters.

7. PredictHQ ranks all events by impact, so you will need to select what level of impact you are interested in (minor to major).

8. Then simply set your time frame and save. In this case, we've selected 'Any time" as it's an ongoing alert.

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PredictHQ’s systems pick up the first official warnings of Severe Weather and Natural Disasters, and then update the events frequently from a range of sources to make sure you are acting on the most accurate information. For this kind of notification, we recommend setting up the cadence  to “Send Immediately”.

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High-impact Notification 2: Preparing for peak days in advance with Aggregate Event Impact

The above Notifications examples are generated by singular events. But events rarely occur in isolation. Even during COVID-19, events frequently cluster and create unexpected and significant impact. We call these perfect storm of demand. Many of our customers track a location's Aggregate Event Impact to know which days will be busy in advance. Aggregate Event Impact calculates the combined impact of all relevant events in a location and timeframe. Through Notifications, you can set up an alert for when a location passes a threshold of your choosing. Our Customer Success team will help you work out the best aggregate for your operations.

For this example, let's imagine we're setting up a configuration for the operations manager for an on-demand transport company in Austin, Texas. They want to know when there will be more people in town to ensure they have enough drivers, or assets such as bikes and scooters in key locations. They also want to know when to launch marketing promotions such as discount codes to capture as much market share as possible.

The process to set up this Notification:

1. Give it a clear name so it's easy to know exactly what you're being alerted about. 2. Select Aggregate event impact as your Notifications Type. 3. Choose your central location. In the example below, we've selected Austin city as our focus, but you could also identify key areas of historical peak pick-ups such as key stadiums, parks or shopping malls within Austin for even more granular attention.

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4. Set the radius for the events you are interested in. This will be specific to your company. For example, car ride-hailing companies may set a wider radius than scooter hire companies, based on average trip distance and how they organise their assets. Our Customer Success team can work with you to identify a good one for your needs.

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5. Select the kinds of events as well as the impact ranking you want to include in your Aggregate Event Impact Threshold. We recommend companies use as many of our 18 categories as they have subscribed to, to give them the fullest picture of demand causal factors.

6. You then need to set a threshold, so when the combined impact of relevant events crosses this for a day or several days in a row, you will be sent an alert in advance in your weekly or daily digest as soon as that threshold has been crossed. This is the key step for this kind of Notification. Our Customer Success team can help you identify what the right threshold is for your target locations.

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Now this Notification is set up, you will receive an alert in advance about upcoming busy days. This means you can ensure the right level of drivers or assets are ready to go, as well as the best times to launch campaigns to gain as much market share as possible.

High-impact Notification 3: Events ranked as important and within a radius of a store

For the next example, we want to delve into the importance of event impact rankings and how to use them in your One of the demand causal factors for retail stores is the footfall caused by nearby events - usually before and after the event. For retail stores in today’s environment, being prepared to capture this footfall is more critical than ever. PredictHQ Notifications lets you be prepared for events and last minute changes to them so that you can optimize your labour and materials.

For this example, we’ll set up an alert for impactful events that will occur within a two mile radius of a hospitality venue, such as a coffee chain or fast food outlet. You’ll need more staff and supplies on-hand for increased footfall if there are events coming online nearby. 1. As with the Notifications above, you will need to start by naming your configuration.

2. For this configuration, select Event Change.

3. For location centre point, you can enter your exact store address.

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4. Next, you’ll need to set the radius relevant to your store. If you’re not sure, our Customer Success team will be ready to assist you work out which events and radius are likely to be the highest impact for your operations. In this case, we’re choosing two miles but for many quick serve restaurants, the radius may be far smaller especially if you have a network of stores in densely trafficked areas such San Francisco.

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5. The final key step is setting what kind of events you want to be notified about. For this example, it would be useful to know about Conferences and Expos given your proximity to the Moscone Conference Center as well as other key venues, as well as Community Events and Performing Arts Events given nearby locations.

6. Set what what scale of events you want to be notified for. In this Notification, we want to be alerted for all events ranked as Important, Significant and Major. PredictHQ has three different ranks, and you can read more about them here. (We explore Aviation Rank in our next example.)

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7. The final step is to set how you want to be notified about this event. There are three options but we recommend the “Send Digest email” for most customers, as this means you can receive a daily or weekly digest email of all relevant alerts without being flooded with emails.

Once you have set your Notification up, you can take the guesswork out of scheduling staff and ingredients/stock to meet demand. This means you can keep your investment in each store lean as you recover, without risking losing out on customers from long queues, extended wait times and missing items.

High-impact Notification 4: Changes to high impact events around a city

Major events such as conferences and expos can have a significant impact on demand for travel, transport, accommodation and hospitality. Today, these events are changed, postponed or cancelled at a moment's notice due to the disruption caused by COVID-19. By keeping a pulse on what’s happening with Notifications, companies can make the right preparations. For example, if a large event is cancelled, you will need to reduce staff or when new events are scheduled, you will need to scale up resources.

For this example, let’s fill the shoes of an airline revenue manager responsible after their hub airport in London. You want to know about significant events that have had changes that could impact the demand for seats - such as Wimbledon, which has been cancelled for 2020. By knowing instantly about event changes, we can get ahead of the booking curve and make pricing, availability, and aircraft equipment adjustments.  Let’s start by setting up a notification for impactful events that will occur, change, postpone or cancel for the city of London.

1. Once again, open the PredictHQ Notifications platform in Control Center and name your new configuration something specific and clear as this is what your Notification will be called in your email digest. 2. In this case, we’re going with an Event Change notification, so click that box.

3. Enter London where it asks for places.

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4. Next we’ll select the type of events we want to be notified about. For this example, we’ll select several scheduled event categories that we know can be quite dynamic.

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5. Next select Aviation Rank from the rank dropdown menu. PredictHQ has taken the guesswork out of events that impact aviation with Aviation Rank (more details here). PredictHQ ranks all events by predicted impact with a log-scaled number between 0 to 100. In this Notification, we want to be alerted for all events ranked as Important, Significant and Major impact for airline bookings.

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6. The final key step is setting the frequency of notifications. Demand can change instantly for airlines, so we’ll set it so that we’re notified immediately of any significant event changes.

Now this notification is set up, it will alert you immediately when PredictHQ sees events being changed that could impact the demand for airlines in the London area. This helps revenue managers and pricing analysts to looking at the area beat the booking curve and make optimal decisions. This same approach with different ranks can be used with identical effect for other industries - such as hospitality and accommodation.

There are hundreds of Notifications that we could explore today. We hope you have found these three useful and you can get in touch with our team to set up your access and work with you to identify the highest impact Notifications for your company.