Optimising the performance of Online travel products such as hotels, holidays, flights and car hire poses some unique challenges.
The dynamic and ephemeral nature of these travel products makes it hard to really understand true product profitability and the drivers of conversion. A hotel might sell well today for one set of visitors but be less attractive due to price changes just a few days later or for a different customer segment.
Finding relevant products in search results is often hard work for visitors
When conducting an availability search for hotels and holidays, visitors are typically presented with dozens of products and left to find the most relevant one using filters and sorting. Whilst visitors value choice, in our experience, many are put off by the sheer number of results and time taken. This problem is even more severe for mobile users. The result is a sub-optimal experience for many visitors, leading to lower engagement and conversion.
Gain 10-20% performance improvement by making product results more relevant by optimising search result positioning
Just like Google does with SEO search results, travel product merchandisers can make the ordering of search results better to drive conversion and margin. Our research has shown just how important it is to get the right products in the best positions.
But which products should go where? There is no single right answer as so much depends on the specifics of the site, its visitor profile and the nature of the products being sold.
In travel there are some common areas to investigate:
Which products are getting the most visibility and engagement in the search?
What's the relationship between the result position and visitor propensity to engage and book for the site?
What attributes other than price are really driving product performance? E.g. star ratings, board types, review scores or particular sub-destinations?
Are there clear personas which can be segmented around? E.g. families with small children will want to see different product to young adults
Does segmentation by Booking windows matter? E.g. shoppers looking to travel imminently versus those with significant advance travel dates
Does choice restriction make sense? E.g. show a more limited product and price range to customers based on their search parameters or for those browsing via mobile devices
Can more margin be generated by preferencing certain suppliers with similar products?
Our experience working on optimisation across a number of eCommerce businesses has shown us the value of sort ordering and how to get it right. Incisively can help you identify, test and continually optimise the best merchandising strategy for each of these scenarios and many more.