NB: This is a guest article by Wayne Morris, UK general manager at Maxymiser.
Travel is about choice. Where do you want to go today? What kind of experience do you want? Who do you want to take with you?
When you manifest this online, the result is endless permutations of customers each looking to get something different out of your travel site.
Your challenge is to make every one of your online visitors feel like your site has been created specifically for them. But how?
Many travel brands are already ticking boxes such as re-design, usability and heat map analysis, and introducing elements to attract attention, like carousels.
But this is only really the start of your website optimisation journey.
Itâ€™s time to move on from subjective decision-making. To understand the real behaviour of your visitors, why they click through and ultimately what influences their purchase decision, testing in a live environment is critical.
Put it to the test
Did you know that you already have the biggest and most accurate focus group running continuously in the background?
Your thousands, or even millions, of website visitors are already providing feedback on your website based on real-world actions.
This live data gained from actual visitor behaviour is the key to objective, informed decision-making. A/B testing should be your first step for some basic, yet powerful insights.
- Does adding an icon attract more visitors to click on a money-saving deal?
- Will inserting a light box reminding visitors they can add “extras” into their basket mean they buy more in-flight meals or travel insurance?
Multivariate testing takes this one stage further, by serving up multiple variants of content, design and structure, so you can be confident you know the design/content/layout combinations that will drive the greatest clickthroughs, booking values and overall sales.
Small changes, big impact
Whether you are offering package holidays, accommodation, cruises and ferry tours, or train tickets, your business drivers will be almost identical – driving conversion rates upwards.
By optimising a simple call to action, for example, a flight operator has increased the sale of added-value items such as travel insurance and fast track boarding; and switching the order of different pricing on a ferry companyâ€™s website has boosted booking values of higher priced fares that offer additional benefits.
Website optimisation is a journey that can lead to segmentation and personalisation to provide the optimum customer experience.
But itâ€™s one that only really starts when subjectivity and guesswork are replaced with content decisions based on actual real-life data from your customers.
A/B and multivariate testing is a powerful way to embark on a strategic approach to iterating the user experience of your website, where the impact of sometimes simple changes to colour, content, message and design can be measured and acted upon with confidence.
Your customers wonâ€™t book a flight, holiday or hotel room without considering it carefully and getting all the facts.
Make it easy for them to buy from your brand by letting them choose the optimum look and feel of your website, rather than trusting your gut-feel.
In return, your customer engagement will increase significantly â€“ and so will your conversion rates.
NB:Â This is a guest article by Wayne Morris, UK general manager atÂ Maxymiser.