Hotels4u sees huge uplifts from search funnel optimisation & MVT
Hotels4u.com is an award-winning website designed to make booking hotels quick and easy 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As part of the Thomas Cook Group, Hotels4u has over 200 staff with a combined travel experience of more than 250 years. With over 200,000 competitively priced properties worldwide, Hotels4u has processed more than eight million hotel bookings.
While overall holiday bookings have continued to see flat growth, online bookings have been rapidly growing, making it the increasingly preferred way for holidaymakers, businesses and travel agents to purchase hotels reservations.
However, as this is a highly competitive market, Hotels4u needed to improve visitor conversion in order to stay ahead of its competitors. It was already a successful company, but wanted to drive business growth further by increasing online sales through their website with a modest budget pool.
The complexity of online bookings can lead to a high volume of support issues and abandonment rates, so Hotels4u decided it was essential to improve and simplify the search-to-book process to increase conversions from website visits. Hotels4u wanted to implement an aggressive test strategy to create and amend content for a friendlier consumer experience and help it stand out from hundreds of online travel agency competitors.
Hotels4u also wanted to capitalise on the mobile opportunity presented by the rise of smartphones, but it had limited resource available for the project.
Hotels4u selected Webtrends Optimize, a testing and targeting platform that provides reliable results, scalability to grow with success and reporting to provide actionable insights.
Webtrends Optimize combines a complete selection of test types, including AB testing and MVT. It helps retailers with search funnel optimisation to improve conversion and average order value, reduce basket abandonment and customer service costs, and build customer relationships across digital channels.
The solution consists of two parts – platform and service. The Webtrends Optimize team brings the expertise and development resources to the relationship and worked alongside Hotels4u to ensure the long-term optimisation strategy is executed in line with their growth expectations. Hotels4u’s internal team then worked closely with the Webtrends Optimize team to define processes, targets and objectives.
Using Webtrends Optimize, the team was able to deliver an exclusive testing package capable of detailed analysis and recommendations for search funnel optimisation and other website improvements. The team built multivariate test plans that could be rolled out and updated over a period of time to continually improve the customer experience.
The three main areas of focus for multivariate testing on the website were the homepage, hotel details page and the booking funnel. These areas were chosen for the direct impact any changes would have on the conversion rate.
On the mobile side of the project, the Webtrends Optimize team used their expertise to recommend a number of new smartphone designs. The team tested multiple mobile versions of the site to find the optimal design for Hotels4u’s visitors.
“Webtrends Optimize was able to develop a solution without placing additional burden on internal resources. Their recommended designs have driven a 61% increase in search and 22% lift in visitors seeing our hotel pages through our mobile channel.”
Head of eCommerce, Hotels4u
By running multivariate testing campaigns with Webtrends Optimize, Hotels4u could easily determine what was working and what was not based on customer data, and make changes to content on its website accordingly. This allowed for sub-optimal tests to then be quickly spotted and amended, producing more targeted results.
As a result of the multivariate testing and search funnel optimisation, Hotels4u experienced a 5.52% lift in online bookings – a significant achievement for an already successful website.
“Internal opinion about what will work best has become largely irrelevant at Hotels4u because customer interaction and feedback now shapes the evolution of our website as we continue to optimise the booking funnel,” said Steven Moore, Head of eCommerce at Hotels4u.
“Through mobile site optimisation with Webtrends Optimize, we have been able to solve part of the puzzle that plagues every marketer today – the multi-channel problem,” he continued.
“We felt we were missing a clear opportunity with visitors who browse on their smartphones on the go and these results have effectively made it much easier for our customers to find what they are looking for and facilitating their multi-channel journey.