MHC team takes prize at DataFest.

Thursday, May 5, 2016 - 10:00am
Team Ze2st

By Keely Savoie

More than 20 teams from the Five Colleges competed in the weekend-long Five College DataFest contest.

The students were tasked with constructing meaningful information from millions of data points taken from Ticketmaster, the online ticket sales company.

“There were about 4.3 million points of data,” said Zollie Yavarow ’17, who was on the Mount Holyoke College team Ze2st.

After the teams were presented with the data Friday afternoon, they had the weekend to turn the raw numbers into a meaningful narrative.

The Ze2st team started by identifying broad patterns: What time were people visiting the site? What search terms did they use to find it? Were there different patterns depending on whether the tickets purchased were for concerts, sports events, or conferences? How much money did each customer spend? What seats did they buy?

Yavarow and Team Ze2st were able to identify key areas of potential improvement for Ticketmaster by narrowing in on two specific questions:

How many clicks did it take them to complete a purchase, and how did the volume of traffic influence ticket sales?

The team found that most potential customers left the site after only one to two clicks, but that it took an average of 18 clicks to complete a purchase. They recommended that Ticketmaster streamline the clicks-to-purchase experience for the consumer.

Ze2st also found that  ticket sales peaked during hours of heaviest traffic, indicating that completed purchases during those times could be optimized if the company offered special deals and promotions during those windows.


The team won “Best Business Recommendation” for its suggestions.

“We’re definitely going to compete again next year,” said Yavarow, noting that the competition was strictly in a collaborative style. “Everyone there is doing their best and also learning from everyone else, so it is very rewarding.”