Industry Update
Supplier News30 August 2018

Why It Can Pay to Be Counterintuitive in Travel Marketing and Sales

Travel brands are discovering that driving up conversions requires counterintuitive design and a smart approach to testing

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For almost every travel brand, their marketing and sales funnel is extremely porous, with consumers dropping out at every stage and low numbers eventually turning into bookings. Pushing up conversion rates isn't straightforward either, find EyeforTravel's new Converting the Customer report, which is free to download now. To succeed, designers, webmasters and analysts will need to be ready to take a journey into the sometimes illogical and counterintuitive world of marketing and sales psychology.


Understanding what does and doesn't work all starts with a strong base in thorough testing. Steven Consiglio, product performance manager at, said that it always has "countless, ever-present" different versions of its site on trial and uses A/B testing to measure the success rate of one version against another.

"Most of the concrete opinions we've brought to the table have been wrong," he says. "In terms of hypotheses, we do worse than a coin flip on things that we feel will improve the guest experience - it really speaks to the importance of a testing culture. We added a shadow to the search box and conversion increased. There are a hundred of those [kinds of example] that are nonsensical."

Sam Nazari, head of solutions engineering at Sentient Technologies also finds that small changes can add up but trying to second guess which ones or why is borderline impossible: "One of our clients decided to reverse the payment and address fields. So instead of the customer filling out the address and the payment field, let them start with the payments and then the address field. We don't necessarily know why, but our AI told us that that variation is a top performer."

He has also found that it can even pay to create an ugly website! "Abub Media tested very odd colors, and non-obvious combinations of colours were actually the best performing design. So, a pink background and perform widget, a white call to action with black text and a lime green banner was a top performer. They call it the ugly widget creator! We generated that design, and it was a 45% lift [in bookings] over [the] control."

Product choices and menus are also a place where travel brands need to apply testing and psychological know-how. Normally, putting in more product choices and steps before the final checkout leads to noticeable drop out at each stage and reduces conversion and revenues. However, by optimising the choice presented to the consumer, there are times when this is not the case and counterintuitively the opposite is true.

Take easyjet for example. They introduced new baggage options in 2018, offering consumers 15kg, 23kg and 26kg hold bag choices. This would seem to go against the grain of reducing cognitive load for the consumer by adding more choices in this instance. However, through site optimization, menu design, and some clever psychological pricing, this is paying off. Whilst the jump from a 15kg hold bag to a 23kg hold bag costs a few pounds or euros, the 26kg bag cost over 60% in the example we looked at on their website in August 2018. This is a classic pricing trick that makes the consumer assume the middle option is the best value, with the 26kg option essentially a redundant option, and the 15kg option acting as an anchor price to emphasise the value of the 23kg hold bag.

These are all examples of why it is important not to assume your logic is the same as the customers and to examine any attempt to lift conversion through comprehensive testing. Whilst changing small items, such as the colour of the call-to-action, the position of menu items, or the wording behind ancillary sales items, can seem small and nonsensical, adding them all up can make a real difference to the bottom line. It therefore pays to test the counterintuitive and go against your instincts in the pursuit of higher conversion rates.

To learn more about how to drive up your conversion rates and revenues download the new Converting the Customer report for free now by clicking here. This report includes findings on:

  • How to measure and understand intent to purchase.
  • What content and marketing will drive up conversions.
  • How to retarget and remarket in a way that brings customers back.
  • How to use different channels effectively.
  • Why social proof is critical and how it can dramatically raise revenues.

This report is part of our Behavioral Analytics Report Series, where we seek to uncover how brands can understand the modern traveler to drive higher conversion rates, lower acquisition costs, and ultimately give them the best possible product at the right price. You can find the first report, Understanding the Travel Consumer by clicking here. You can also sign up to EyeforTravel's newsletter to be notified when our third report in the series, which covers dynamic and personalized pricing, is released.


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About EyeforTravel

EyeforTravel is an online travel intelligence provider to hotels, airlines, online travel agents, cruise, car hire firms and more. Established in 1997 by Tim Gunstone, right at the inception of online travel, the group offers a diverse product portfolio including industry analysis, insights, research, webinars, reports and conferences. From major hotel brands to new startups, EyeforTravel helps its 80,000 strong customer base make better decisions, build better brands, close the most lucrative deals and ultimately sell more of their product.

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Alex Hadwick
Head of Research
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