Virgin Trains Case Study

Webtrends Optimize delivers massive results for Virgin Trains

The Client

The UK’s first public railway opened in 1825. That same rail network now handles 1.7 billion journeys a year, constantly adapting and optimising. To reflect this up-to-date service, customers can now plan and book their journeys by phone, computer, tablet, and mobile apps. The rail infrastructure is operated by Network Rail but the train operators are run by independent franchises. Virgin Trains is a joint partnership between Stagecoach and Virgin and has held the reins of the Intercity West Coast franchise for 20 years.

The Challenge

Virgin Trains are forward thinkers and continually strive to deliver the very best in customer service; from a customer’s first visit to their website to the moment they reach their destination.
As it’s often the first impression, the online experience needs to deliver – providing relevant information quickly and in an accessible format, optimised for their diverse customer base. With a small in-house team, they wanted to accelerate their testing program, working towards a continuous testing philosophy by utilising an optimisation partner that would work directly alongside their team.

"Webtrends Optimize offered us exactly what we needed; a robust and proven testing technology, coupled with a team of experts who were extremely knowledgeable within our industry, and others."

Simon Bagel
Digital Optimisation Manager, Virgin Trains

The Solution

Virgin Trains were looking for an optimisation solution that wouldn’t just offer the technology, but a company that was familiar with this kind of fast-paced environment too.
“We chose Webtrends Optimize because of their vast experience and success stories from a number of leading e-commerce brands across a range of industries, including travel. Before we appointed Webtrends Optimize we reached out to some of their other partners, and all gave glowing recommendations. Webtrends Optimize offered us exactly what we needed; a robust and proven testing technology, coupled with a team of experts who were extremely knowledgeable within our industry, and others,” said Simon Bagel, Digital Optimisation Manager at Virgin Trains.

Webtrends Optimize’s first challenge was to speed up the way users started their search for tickets and train times. “It was important to ensure this first test was delivered promptly and saw a positive improvement on conversions from the off. We needed to prove to the business that the investment in optimisation was going to be cost effective.”

virgin in carriage

“We’re confident that Webtrends Optimize can continue to deliver impressive results. Off the back of the first set of results, and based on our experience of their expertise and knowledge, they’ve become a trusted adviser for our team.”

Simon Bagel
Digital Optimisation Manager, Virgin Trains

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Increase in conversions - Mobile
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The Results

The first test was a huge success, producing a greater effect on the bottom line than was thought possible. Webtrends were able to significantly reduce the load speed of the search tool by 93%, from 3 seconds to 0.2 seconds. The impact showed a huge improvement; a 6.68% increase in sales conversions on mobile devices, and 1.5% on desktops.
The test saw positive results with statistical significance of greater than 98% across all devices together (desktop, mobile and tablet).
Virgin Trains’ Simon Bagel concluded, “We’re confident that Webtrends can continue to deliver impressive results. Off the back of the first set of results, and based on our experience of their expertise and knowledge, they’ve become a trusted adviser for our team.”

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