The travel sector is highly competitive, and a highly interesting sector to design for. There is the obvious need for effective and efficient search and transactional components, but also the need to support the customer during their holiday selection process. This is achieved by providing appropriate features, functions and content that inspire, persuade and also hit an emotional sweet spot. Even the experience of booking can be seen as a key part of the holiday!
Virgin Holidays wanted to…
- Identify quick wins that would improve website performance in the short term
- Identify longer-term improvements
- Work towards a wholly user-centric website
- Bring customers a truly engaging online experience that was ultimately profitable for the business
Our initial engagement with Virgin Holidays was for a tactical project aimed at improving the online experience and benchmarking their experience against competitors. To do this, we performed an expert evaluation and a round of usability testing. This work quickly established that there was a number of issues that needed to be addressed with high priority. 6 of our 10 priority recommendations were implemented in the two weeks following the testing and this resulted in a 90% increase in conversions in the weeks that followed.
Engagement is strengthened and concentrated with the introduction of the quick-find form and map
Following the establishment of the positive effects of usability best-practice on the business, Bunnyfoot was commissioned to perform a more extensive User-Centred Design (UCD) project for the main Virgin Holidays site.
- Established customer personas and mental models which helped drive a deeper understanding and awareness of customer needs
- Analysed competitor best practices so these could be incorporated and improved upon
- Generated a new customer-focused information architecture and search paradigm
- Developed a ‘blue sky’ interactive prototype of the site that demonstrated the interactions that the site should support in order to deliver the best customer experience
- Assisted with implementation of components from the blue sky vision as an when was possible given back end and other constraints
Improvements made as a result of the UCD project resulted in a 140% increase in conversions, increases in decisions to upgrade and upsell flights and rooms, and dramatic improvements to measured customer satisfaction for the online channel.
Following the UCD project, Bunnyfoot was then retained as exclusive user experience supplier in a rolling 12-month contract, which delivered ‘on-call’ UX expertise and design support to Virgin Holidays, as well as regular benchmarking exercises against competitors, ongoing testing of new components as they were introduced, and support for other sites across the group.
- 10 priority quick wins were established just from an initial expert evaluation and round of testing
- Implementing Bunnyfoot’s suggested quick wins resulted in a 90% increase in booking conversions
- Bunnyfoot subsequently partnered Virgin Holidays through the ongoing development of their site, creating an optimal ‘Blue sky’ design, components of which were implemented when the technology back-end supported it. This lead to a sustained 140% increase in conversions
- Implementing Bunnyfoot’s interaction designs led to upgrade/upsell targets being hit for the first time ever for flights and board basis
- Key customer satisfaction targets were exceeded for online channel (outperforming the other channels for the first time)
- Bunnyfoot’s proven results led to being retained on a rolling 12-month contract to provide ongoing support to the main site as well as several other sites across the group