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Successful Collaboration: Thomas Cook and TravelTainment increase conversion rate by 33% using A/B testing

Friday 3 December 2010 | 09:52

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Thomas Cook AG offers everything from holiday packages, last minute holidays and city trips to car rental and cruises via their website thomascook.de. The last minute and holiday package parts of the site are powered by the Internet Booking Engine of TravelTainment GmbH, which is part of the Amadeus Leisure Group.

Booking made easy: improving the last step in the booking process
Looking at the conversion funnel in their web analytics reports, Thomas Cook identified that a relatively large percentage of their visitors were reaching their booking page but were not completing a booking. They understood that improving this last step in the conversion process could dramatically increase their conversion rate and approached their partner TravelTainment to work together on optimizing this page. Their hypothesis was that a shorter and (visually) less complex booking page would lead to a higher percentage of visitors completing a booking.

The decision was made to run an A/B test in which the original page (A) was tested against an alternative (B). In the design of the alternative page Thomas Cook and TravelTainment focused on reducing the length of the page:

The layout of the booking form was improved

Before



After



The option to enter a voucher code was made expandable

Before

After



The (optional) car rental section was redesigned with less detail

Before

After




Payment option details were hidden and are only expanded when a payment option is selected

Before

After



The size of the call-to-action button at the bottom of the page was increased

Before

After


Improved booking page improves Conversion Rate by 33%
The changes listed above resulted in an alternative page that was around 40% shorter than the original. Over a period of almost 3 weeks half of the visitors to the booking page saw the original page (A), the other half saw the newly created alternative page (B). The alternative page had a 33% higher conversion rate than the original


What can you do?

Optimise your booking / checkout process to increase your conversion rate
To convert more visitors into buyers, regularly check your Web Analytics data to find out where a large percentage of visitors are leaving the conversion funnel of your website. Diagnose what the issues with the pages you have identified are, and start creating and testing possible alternatives. As a general guideline, try to keep an eye on the following when thinking about optimizing you booking / checkout pages:
  • Try to keep your booking or checkout process as easy as possible to complete
  • Offer your visitors the option to order as a guest without creating an account
  • Avoid visual distractions
  • Show the steps in the process
  • Show payment options early on in the process
  • Reduce the number of form fields (preferably, only include required fields)
  • Show examples when needed (for instance: date of birth (23.08.1976))
  • Clearly highlight errors when visitors forget to fill in a form field or use a wrong format
  • Offer assistance (show a phone number so visitors can contact you with questions)
  • Show visitors that their data will be secure
  • Try to get visitors to sign up for your newsletter after they completed the purchase / booking


As Thomas Cook and TravelTainment have shown in this case study, a simple A/B test with a tool like Google Website Optimiser can have a huge effect on your conversion rate!


(This case study was previously posted on the German Conversion Room blog)

Posted by Jos Meijerhof, Google Conversion Team

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