I’m Head of Commercial Performance at BA. I have a team of around 30 Analysts working with me, and together our role is to support and challenge the other commercial departments.
The challenge comes from setting the revenue targets for the year. We set a top-level revenue target based on current performance, our assessments of the competition, and our expectations of the economic outlook. We work with the sales teams to break this into team and individual targets, and make adjustments to reflect changes in BA’s strategy.
Air travel is a notoriously complex and dynamic market, with fares moving real time in response to booking behaviour and global events. The Commercial Performance team is at the heart of the performance monitoring process, helping our commercial colleagues to make sense of how the business is coming in, and to decide when to intervene. And when they do intervene, it is us who assess the effectiveness of those interventions, asking questions such as: how much extra revenue did the last sale drive? Is the strategy to drive up yields in the summer peak working? At every critical “How’s it going?” meeting you’ll find at least one member of my team to provide analysis and insight.
As well as managing the current performance, we play an important role in improving our commercial capabilities for the future. For instance, currently we are investing a lot in improving the way we set commercial deals with our trade partners.
I haven’t always worked for the commercial function of BA
I’ve only been in this role since August 2012. But I’ve spent my entire career at BA, often in analytical roles.
I started out in Operational Research, supporting a variety of different parts of the business. My first job was all about improving manpower planning for Operations, where the goal was to both improve the efficiency with which BA covered its peaky workload periods for ground operations, and improve quality of life for the shift workers by giving them input to their shift patterns.
One of the attractions of BA for me is the variety. We are many businesses wrapped into one: an iconic, innovative British brand to be nurtured, a global logistical challenge to orchestrate hundreds of planes and tens of thousands of people every day, an online retailer, a high-tech engineering outfit…
I’ve managed to find ways to work within or alongside many of these parts of the business, most recently as Head of Strategy and Business Planning, where I had to call on my analytical skills to assess the bmi integration, and to work out how to improve profitability of our short haul flying.