Perfect storms of demand and how to make the most of them

Campbell Brown
CEO & Co-Founder

We talk about perfect storms a lot. Here’s why:

Many of the events identified and verified by PredictHQ are massive, drawing hundreds of thousands or even millions of people. So many people are surprised to learn the greatest opportunities for additional revenue are not always the biggest and best known events. Instead, these can be when multiple events are clustered, creating “perfect storms of demand”.

They occur when multiple events, large or small, occur near each other around the same time, say over a week or weekend. They also rarely repeat each year, as many recurring events change locations and timing each year. These clusters are frequent but fiendishly hard to see coming without the right technology.

The team at PredictHQ talk about the concept of perfect storms a lot. One of our most rewarding moments is when a new customer realises the many opportunities they can now access. So today we wanted to unpack what we mean by a perfect storm of demand.

Perfect storms can have as much impact as massive events

RateGain sums up the power of perfect storms of demand perfectly in their blog post about the experiments they conducted with PredictHQ’s demand intelligence data.

“What we didn’t expect to find was that the velocity of events also matters. When there is a cluster of events around the same time, prices go up even if these are less popular events which are unlikely to garner much car rental demand on their own. As we saw in our analysis, event clusters had nearly as much impact on the car rental rate as the more popular events. So while it’s important to factor in major events, car rental revenue management analysts should also consider smaller events — especially when they are scheduled to happen during the same period.”

Without forward planning, businesses caught in a perfect storm will be understaffed, understocked and unable to meet the increased demand effectively to create great experiences for their customers. So how do you see them coming and turn perfect storms from nightmares into opportunities?

Perfect storms in action

In early December last year, businesses in both London and Texas would have been kicking themselves as they realised they had missed huge surges in demand.

Arlington, Texas

Arlington’s perfect storm was caused by three sporting events for communities. Many businesses would have known of one event, but it would have been hard to recognise the incoming impact of all three over the same weekend.

The combined total of almost 200,000 attendees on the same weekend in one suburb created a huge spike in demand for aviation and accommodation in the lead up, as well as hitting retail, hospitality and transport companies over that weekend.

London, United Kingdom

A more distributed cluster of events created a huge perfect storm of demand in London in early November 2018.

Many businesses would have known about the upcoming English Premier League games, but few would have realised the diverse events transformed football crowds into a mass of more than a million people arriving for the weekend.

These two perfect storms were created by sports, concerts and conferences. Perfect storms can also include known school and public holidays, religious observances, festivals as well as unscheduled events such as severe weather and airport delays.

Unfortunately, for the majority of businesses, the weekend was a stressful scramble followed by weeks of wondering what caused the spike in demand and how they missed it.

How to predict perfect storms before they happen

Being caught off-guard and missing out on a perfect storm of demand is the norm. But it doesn’t have to be.

How can you know they are coming? Many demand forecasters try to know what’s coming through hours of googling for events. It takes them 15 minutes to find and log an event, and there are hundreds of thousands happening every day. It’s virtually impossible for human forecasters to have the full event visibility, filtering capability and instant accurate impact estimation capacity required to see every relevant perfect storm coming.

The good news is that this is exactly why we created PredictHQ, which has event coverage across 16 categories in more than 30,000 cities. Importantly, our ranking technology enables you to identify which events are most important, and therefore estimate the impact of each event cluster.

PredictHQ ranks events from minor to major with a log-scaled numerical value between 0-100 to represent the expected impact of an event. Many perfect storms can be generated by events that earn a “moderate” or “important” ranking, rather than just the easier to spot “significant” to “major” ranked events. Future perfect storm of demand Here’s just one of hundreds of upcoming perfect storms, taking place over a weekend in July 2019 in Los Angeles. The key events will gather more than 350,000 people, and the impact of this is further compounded by it starting on July 4: the Independence Day national holiday across the USA. Public holidays, especially national ones, are ranked major impact by PredictHQ.

With PredictHQ, you can filter events by country, region or even city level. You can also do a radial search to return events happening around a specific geocenter.