Case Study: How One Simple Change Increased Expedia's Revenue By $12 Million A Year

expedia-logoAs an online business Expedia relies entirely on their website to drive revenue, with even small user experience issues having major potential costs. Expedia have a team of UX specialists and every part of their website is planned meticulously. However that doesn’t mean they stop trying to increase their conversion rate.

Analysts at Expedia noticed discrepancies in the number of people who clicked the ‘Buy Now’ button after inputting all booking and billing details, and the corresponding revenue which Expedia were making. They investigated these failed transactions to identify what traits they had in common.

The answer, it turns out, was quite simple. Expedia had an optional field on the site under ‘Name’, which was ‘Company’. This confused some customers who filled out the ‘Company’ field with their bank name. After putting in their bank name, these customers then went on to enter the address of their bank, rather than their home address, in the address field. When it came to address verification to process the credit card, it failed because it was not the address of the credit card holder. Some customers also gave up the whole booking process due to the confusion the form was causing.

Once Expedia noticed this issue they deleted the field and immediately saw an increase in revenue of $12 million a year, along with a saving in customer service time, which came with the failed bookings.

A mockup of Expedias experiment.

A mockup of Expedias experiment.

Expedia’s VP of global analytics and optimisation Joe Megibow said at the time “We have found 50 or 60 of these kinds of things by using analytics and paying attention to the customer” meaning that this simple change was not a one-off find and that consistently engaging in conversion rate optimisation can be very profitable.

The take away from this case study is that your website is never perfect, and adjustments to how it works or looks can improve your bottom line. Utilising both quantitative and qualitative analysis is key to working out your website issues and should be a regular component of your overall online strategy. There are a number of tools that can help you test your website such as, and so what are you waiting for? Start analysing!

Duncan Jones

About The Author - Duncan Jones

I am a growth marketing specialist from New Zealand and im passionate about growing businesses through creative and performance focused digital marketing. I insist on tracking everything, follow proven growth processes and I still love the thrill of getting a first conversion then optimising & scaling the campaigns for clients across a huge range of industries. You can find me on LinkedIn here, find out how to hire me here or you can contact me here.

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