Smarter Product: CarTrawler’s Smartblock Technology

Jun 21, 2018

At CarTrawler’s annual Summer Conference in the K Club, the hunger for a smarter product solution was evident. Deborah Clarke, Director of Product and Ross McMahon, Director of Partner Management took the 120-strong crowd through the evolution of CarTrawler’s product to its Smartblock integration, where it’s headed in the future and what these developments mean for partners and travel organisations who deploy CarTrawler technology to enhance their overall offering with tailored and intuitive ancillary products.

CarTrawler’s Smartblock integration takes inspiration and direction from the modern consumer.

Ross Mc Mahon took to the stage first to highlight how CarTrawler’s product has developed and matured over the years. He maintained that CarTrawler has always been well adept at understanding the user experience and will take this innovative disposition to the next level with the latest Smartblock technology integration.

As the first company to introduce dynamic widgets back in the early 2000’s, CarTrawler have been making improvements ever since. CarTrawler’s latest groundbreaking product offering is their award-winning Smartblock technology. Ross emphasised how this product emerged by virtue of the data pool which CarTrawler already recieves from their worldwide airline and OTA partners. ‘This data is so rich that we can actually pull profiles of these passengers. Smartblock is about being smarter with this data.

 From 2012 onwards there was a distinguished and deliberate move to ensure there was context and reason behind a pricing display rather than just a generic display. This is all the more important with the shift to mobile, as CarTrawler’s Smartblock integration takes inspiration and direction from the modern consumer. Smartblock ensures that the limited space on mobile is used in the most optimal manner: in this reduced space CarTrawler can refine its processes so that the right car is shown in front of the right customer.

Smartblock enhances both functionality and merchandising

Smartblock is the latest iteration of CarTrawler’s technology solution, having enhanced both functionality and merchandising. Deborah demonstrated how generic, impersonal offerings will no longer suffice. Car rental and ground transportation has historically been viewed as an additional add on – rather than a function of a particular passenger journey.

Smartblock has the capacity to read the key passenger indications which in turn will inform the type of offering that is presented to them. ‘Data and parameters are sorted to create that compelling content, highlighting components of that actual car. What is most important are those blocks that we need to show and how we can make the flow intuitive and quick.’  Deborah revealed the staggering statistics that emerge when the booking flow is designed to appeal to particular consumers, with 53% of customers who engage with Smartblock going on to convert.

The difference in functionality and ease of merchandising was made all the more apparent when Deborah demonstrated the difference between a traditional in-path integration and a Smartblock integration. She advised of the oftentimes cumbersome nature of a traditional in-path integration which can command a wide variety of resources such as technical scoping and high-end UI work. If any alterations to the site need to be made, the partner will need to use up resources to enable site updates.

Smartblock increases your revenue while simultaneously decreasing your cost

With the Smartblock integration, updates and multi-variate testing is left exclusively with CarTrawler and they’ll do the heavy lifting on behalf of the partner in order to achieve the overarching goal: ‘increase your revenue while decreasing your cost.’ The Smartblock integration has consistently outperformed traditional integrations with partner revenue increases of over +60%. This is driven by superior car conversion and has also higher revenue per booking with a particular emphasis on insurance conversion which is 100% higher on Smart Block integration vs a traditional in- path integration.

Smartblock has a direct and immediate effect on the ancillary revenues of partners

As Director of Partner Management, Ross McMahon has seen first hand the direct and immediate impact that CarTrawler’s Smartblock technology has on the ancillary revenues of partners. In terms of integration lead time, CarTrawler have virtually diminished the long term window that was traditionally required. The lead time has been reduced considerably and implementation is measured not in weeks but in days.

Beyond the reduction in integration time, Ross emphasised the other long term advantages afforded to partners such as the resource-free commitment to site updates and optimisation. Ross highlighted how the ‘heavy-lifting is on CarTrawler’s side,’ and the partner need not worry about the high costs generally associated with site updates. This freedom allows CarTrawler to ensure continuous improvements are made which lead to greater optimisation opportunities.