Beginning: The Why? of the Test …
As all recent e-stories starts with “We were once in a meeting”, but the interesting thing is not, as in all stories, the beginning, but the knot and the denouement. About the beginning, we can say that it has been one of the most normal of the XXI century, with four people in an office trying to find solutions. One morning, years ago, we went to meet a customer (a chain of hotels), who was our client for two years, back then.
We were in charge of strategy in digital media and analysis. Additionally we collaborated with them in the process of selecting a booking engine, a process that was being lengthened by doubts about which was the best booking engine for them among all that we had valued.
Knot: Which is the best Booking Engine for us? …
One of our services is to help hotels and hotel chains select the booking engine that best suits their needs. We have a Benchmark of 80 best booking engines worldwide and before recommending and implementing an booking engine, we perform an analysis of the hotel’s specific needs at the level of rate plans, prices, offers, sales channels, markets, connectivity with channel manager and PMS, typology of users with access to the booking engine, etc. And we contrast them with more than 200 functionalities of each booking engine, and based on this information and our experience we recommend the booking engine that we consider appropriate in each case.
In this case we had already more than half a year in a deep analysis of the pros and cons of the three booking engines that we had finally chosen as the most suitable for them, because they had the functionalities they needed, adequate costs and in all the cases were booking engines that offered high conversion rates based on our experience.
That morning, at that meeting, with all the analyzes made, we realized that small variations in the conversion rate tipped the balance between the booking engines at the ROI level, but it is a fact that we didn´t know what was the conversion rate we would get in this concrete implementation with each booking engine. For a customer like this, a large chain, a small variation in the conversion rate could mean a difference of more than one million euros a year.
That’s when a person on the team commented; “Why don´t we do a test like we do in campaigns to optimize the conversion rate?” Of course it was the best solution, so we could empirically know in this case which of the three engines offered better results and a higher return on investment (ROI).
Outcome – Happy result.
In that case we designed a complete test, the 3 booking engines were implemented in the client’s site and the one they had up to that point was maintained and in total we tested 4 booking engines for 3 months. At the end of the test, at least 1,000 bookings had been received in each booking engine, which allowed us to know with certainty which booking engine offered better conversion and ROI based on statistically relevant data and with a minimum margin of error.
The customer was fully satisfied and assured of having made the best choice, nowadays we continue to work with them and we are proposing a new test of booking engines;).