Great Rail Journeys: Increasing Conversions

Increasing Online Conversions for Great Rail Journeys

Great Rail Journeys is the UK’s leading operator of rail-based holidays. With over 30 years of experience, they understand exactly what makes a holiday by train successful and their service has been recognised in both the Telegraph Travel Awards and British Travel Awards.

Despite this success, the site had been developed based on what was believed rather than real evidence and they felt that with a deeper understanding of customers’ needs and desires they could offer a better experience and improved performance.

What Great Rail Journeys Wanted

  • To understand how and when audiences use Great Rail Journeys website
  • Discover what customers were looking for when using the Great Rail Journeys website and anything that was missing
  • Increase the number of people completing the booking process of their rail holidays
  • Convert people from researching their holidays on the website to booking a holiday

What Bunnyfoot Delivered

  • Insight into how the website was currently functioning and a collation of best features of competitors’ websites
  • Research insight from interviews and face-to-face sessions with over 40 users of the site
  • A full set of personas that were used to inform the development of the site
  • Mental models and experience maps used to help develop an ideal online experience for the site’s personas
  • A total redesign of the full site based on a full user-centred design process, including numerous rounds of iterative user testing
  • 38.5% increase in conversions from the online booking process

Great Rail Journeys’ website: before and after

The Work

To complete these objectives we:

  • Conducted senior stakeholder workshops and interviews in order to gather insight from the organisation and gather business requirements
  • Carried out competitor review of a number of key websites in order to understand what Great Rail Journeys are doing well and what competitors are doing better – key features including navigation, content, visual design and persuasion factors
  • Carried out primary research with 20 face-to-face interview sessions across two UK locations as well as telephone interviews
  • Used eye tracking in order to help identify usability issues
  • Proposed a new site Information architecture and provided advice to improve the taxonomy with results and insights from a card sorting exercise
  • Generated Personas portraying audience goals, behaviours and motivations when interacting with the site in order to help prioritise the design and implementation of features and functions and used mental models and an experience map to identify key points of influence and persuasion throughout the different user journeys
  • Created wireframes that addressed the issues and opportunities we had identified and then used iterative user testing starting with the booking journey then broadening the scope to the full site
  • Created a number of visual design concepts before selecting one and tweaking and refining it

Mental models, personas and experience maps were all used to inform the website redesign

The Results

  • The proportion of customers progressing from viewing a tour to starting the booking process increased by 52% immediately after the introduction of initial ‘quick fix’ changes
  • Online booking conversion increased by 38.5% during the two months after launch compared to the same period the previous year
  • Average session duration improved by 40.6% in the two weeks following launch compared with the same period prior to launch
  • The number of pages per session increased by 25.8% comparing the two weeks prior to launch with the following two weeks
  • Winner of the UXUK Awards 2014 Best Effect on Business Goals


Bunnyfoot did an excellent job of putting the customer at the heart of our approach to web usability. Previously, all our customer experience decisions were based on instinct rather than hard evidence. Working with Bunnyfoot, we were able to turn this on its head; we learnt some hard lessons about what we were doing wrong, but significantly improved the customer experience and online conversion as a result.


Alex Roberts, Marketing and Sales Director
Great Rail Journeys

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