What XXXX relevance do cottage holidays have to my business?
The Case Study
The Welcome story, and why we do things differently
The challenge that the web posed to us
The mistakes we made
The principles we believe in
Why you should obsess about virgins!
Our Burning Issues
Where has all the response to on-the-page advertising gone?
In May 2001, 31% of those who responded to our advertising called direct, while 69% went to our web site
How do we persuade more people visiting the web site to hand over their money?
By studying the effectiveness of 100’s of changes
A direct marketing company, which specialises in travel
A direct marketing laboratory designed to test and retest the fundamentals of the buying process for holidays
From 8 to 260 staff in 7 years
All organic growth, selling 240,000 holidays, turnover £25m,always profitable
A Favourable Sector?
“ Letting of UK holiday properties was adversely affected by poor weather”
“ Continuing poor weather and strong pound adversely affected domestic tourism including our UK Holiday Cottages Business”
Thomson Travel Group Annual Reports 1998 & 1999
Administering bookings is important . . .
Recording all the demand data for those who “tried to buy but failed” is vital
We obsess about the people who look but don’t buy
Developed our own res sytem - MARS
Prospect Relationship Management - PRM
What were they looking for?
Where? Party size? Date? Price point?
We can track exactly where the buying process broke down
We can recruit bed stock and price it to match unfulfilled demand
We know that in 2001 over 64,000 households have already “tried to buy from us but failed”
Then came the Web . . .
It’s going to change commercial life . . .
But we’re doing alright already . . .
And we are intermediaries . . .
So we must be doomed - right?
Our conclusion . . .
In the age of disintermediation, the intermediary who adds most value
- at no extra cost to the consumer -
gets to rule the market
To add value at no cost to the consumer and lowest possible cost to us
To open new markets by making the buying process easier
To achieve 100% trackability of all responses from advertising and direct mailing
To replace the prospect data lost by moving to a self-service on-line model
Web Sites - Sales Prevention Tools!
On design, everyone has an opinion
Everyone is always wrong!
Obsess about virgins
Remember More information = more reasons not to buy
Only the customer’s behaviour while inside your website counts
Our Scar Tissue
Traffic on your site is like people window shopping
Give them benefits to keep them there - anticipate every question. Offer data capture as a benefit, not a penalty
Only offering a “book-on-line” option (without a “call our call centre” option) reduces holidays sold by over 50%. Keep offering the phone number!
1 in 3 changes to our web-site actually reduced the number of holidays being sold
Keep changing the web site to get more and more people using it to call
Constantly monitor new user reactions
Track individual user behaviour on- and off- line
Collect information on what they are looking for – especially those who don’t buy
Use the information to refine product and pricing – which gets ever more people to buy (currently 52% of all households who call us buy a holiday)
Over 50,000 parties will buy through our web platform this year (70% of total holidays sold)
Every 1% improvement in our call centre call handling brings 1,500 extra holiday sales. (Improvement year 2000 versus 2001 = +6% or 9,000 extra sales for same marketing expenditure)
Direct sell holiday companies that do not have 100% trackability for both on-line and off-line will become paralysed because they can only track the 31% of households (and declining) who respond by phoning for a brochure