EyeforTravel North America 2018

October 2018, Las Vegas

Understand how data, digital and partnerships can make your marketing work again

3 counterintuitive ways to drive smart travel conversions

A new free EyeforTravel whitepaper finds that small steps, like changing the colour of a call-to-action or the wording behind ancillary sales, can provide a much-needed boost to conversions

For almost every travel brand, the marketing and sales funnel is notoriously porous. Fickle consumers are known to hop from one site to another in the planning phase, and low numbers ultimately deliver those all-important bookings.

Pushing up conversion rates isn’t straightforward either, finds EyeforTravel’s free Converting the Customer report, which is free to download, and includes insights from Booking.com, Eurail, Holiday Pirates and more.

Against this backdrop, the report finds that travel brands are discovering that driving up conversions requires counterintuitive design and a smart approach to testing. Going further, it highlights that success will depend on designers, webmasters and analysts taking a journey into the sometimes illogical and counterintuitive world of marketing and sales psychology.

3 tips for being more counterintuitive

1. Have a strong base and test thoroughly, including your own opinions!

Understanding what does and doesn’t work all starts with a strong base in thorough testing. According to Steven Consiglio, product performance manager at Booking.com, the world’s biggest OTA, it’s not enough to have just one version of a site on trial. There needs to be “countless, ever-present” different versions of the site, while at the same time using A/B testing to measure the success rate of one version against another.

“Most of the concrete opinions we’ve brought to the table have been wrong. In terms of hypotheses, we do worse than a coin flip on things that we feel will improve the guest experience,” Consiglio says.

This clearly highlights the importance of a testing culture!

2. Make small changes for big impact

Sometimes it’s seemingly nonsensical changes that add up. For example, Booking.com added a shadow to a search box and conversions increased. This, says Consiglio, is just one of hundreds of examples that don’t at first glance make sense.

Sam Nazari, head of solutions engineering at Sentient Technologies agrees that small changes can make a difference but trying to second guess which ones or why is borderline impossible.

“One of our clients decided to reverse the payment and address fields. So instead of the customer filling out the address and the payment field, let them start with the payments and then the address field. We don’t necessarily know why, but our AI told us that the variation is a top performer,” he explains.

Interestingly, it can even pay to create an ugly website!

“Abub Media tested very odd colours, and non-obvious combinations actually proved to be the best performing design. So, a pink background and perform widget, a white call to action with black text and a lime green banner was a top performer. They call it the ugly widget creator! We generated that design, and it was a 45% lift [in bookings].”

3. Rethink your product choice and menu placement

Product choices and menus are also a place where travel brands need to apply testing and psychological know-how. Normally, putting more product choices and steps before the final checkout leads to noticeable drop out at each stage and reduces conversion and revenues. However, by optimising the choice presented to the consumer, there are times when the opposite holds true.

Take easyJet for example, which introduced new baggage options in 2018, offering consumers the choice of checking in hold bags of up 15kg, 23kg or 32kg. At first glance, this could appear to be more confusing for the consumer than anything else. However, through site optimisation, menu design, and some clever psychological pricing, this is paying off.

While the jump from a 15kg hold bag to a 23kg hold bag is just few pounds or euros, anything over 23kg is charged at £12/kg. This is a classic pricing trick that makes the consumer assume the middle option is the best value; the 15kg option acts as an anchor price to emphasise the value of the 23kg hold bag. 

To learn more about how to drive up your conversion rates and revenues download the new Converting the Customer report now by clicking here. The report includes findings on:

  • How to measure and understand intent to purchase
  • What content and marketing will drive up conversions
  • How to retarget and remarket in a way that brings customers back
  • How to use different channels effectively
  • Why social proof is critical and how it can dramatically raise revenues.

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