Case study: How Booking.com helped Icelandair quadruple confirmation page cross sell

Case study: How Booking.com helped Icelandair quadruple confirmation page cross sell

by Cristina Sainz December 08, 2019

Like most airlines, Icelandair faces the major challenge of boosting ancillary revenues and improving customer experience while sticking to a tight budget. Back in January of this year, we suggested  our partner to test the confirmation page widget instead of the banner to offer the rental car product, which has since nearly quadrupled rental car cross sell via their flight confirmation page.

With a 393% increase in conversion year-on-year already, the test integration is clearly having a positive impact. Read on to find out how we did it and download the case study and results here.

Boosting revenues while enhancing customer experience

Understandably, airlines devote the bulk of their marketing resources to promoting their primary product: flight tickets. Yet, ancillary services, such as discounted car rentals for passengers, account for a rapidly increasing portion of airlines’ revenues. In fact, market researchers predict that ancillary (or ‘non-ticket’) revenues will continue to grow by 18.5% each year industry-wide over the next decade or so. Still, devoting precious marketing resources to non-ticket services is a major challenge for most airlines.

Meanwhile, as competition continues to heat up in the highly crowded air travel sector, customer experience has never been more important. Airlines are increasingly conscious of the value of offering customers an extremely user-friendly online booking experience, including one-stop shopping options for extras, such as rental cars or accommodations. Customers are increasingly accustomed to quick, convenient booking options, which are often a major factor in their choice of one airline over another.

A positive customer experience is also crucial to establishing brand loyalty, which has long been the holy grail for airlines. Yet, enhancing customer experience is challenging, because resources are usually quite limited, and, in the past, it was often difficult to determine the effectiveness or return on investment of a specific intervention. In short, while airlines generally recognise the value of improving customer experience, there is still a lot of uncertainty about the best (and most cost-effective) ways to do this.

Creative solutions required

It is no longer enough to simply show a generic call to action for extra services and expect consumers to figure things out for themselves. Today’s consumers expect smart, data-driven options that make their customer journey smooth and painless. So, to help Icelandair increase ancillary revenues while also giving its customers the service experience they deserve, we had a perfect creative solution that was ready to be put to the test. 

We worked with Icelandair to test out a highly effective cross-sell add-on, which was integrated into the customer’s flight confirmation page on the Icelandair website. After almost one year of testing, the results are undeniably clear. The add-on has proven to be an extremely cost-effective solution that has already delivered an enormous increase in ancillary revenues for Icelandair. You can download the case study and results here.

A personalised offer

In the past, Icelandair had used banner advertising to offer rental cars to its customers after they booked their flights. Customers were booking rental cars at a consistent rate, but the airline knew that there was still plenty of opportunity for growth. Drawing on its years of experience with increasing rental car revenues at other airlines, Booking.com proposed replacing banner ads with a smart, interactive widget on the customer’s personalised flight confirmation page. 

Now, when an Icelandair customer has booked a flight, they are presented with a personalised offer right on their confirmation page. This is a widget that shows the customer available offers for rental cars, based on their flight destination and travel dates. The widget provides customers with a clear overview of the options available to them. It also gives them a clear, easy path to booking the right vehicle for their travel needs.

Why widget?

While Icelandair’s rental cars ad banner did attract the attention of some consumers in the past, it was nowhere near as effective as the widget. How can this difference be explained? It’s all about offering travellers a more personalised customer experience. 

The widget allows Icelandair to specifically target its customers with a relevant rental car option, based on their flight information. Customers appreciate the convenience of not having to resubmit their data on an external site just to see what rental car options are available to them. Now, they enjoy a smoother, more transparent customer experience, which saves them precious time.

How it works

In addition to its customer experience benefits, the Booking.com widget gives airlines plenty of flexibility in terms of integration. It features a fully responsive design, which makes it easy to resize to fit the airline partner’s web design. The partner can also customise the widget’s colour, number of results shown and click-through destination. Learn more about the confirmation page widget here

These smart features enable the partner to completely integrate the Booking.com widget into the look and feel of their website, while also maintaining complete control over customer experience. Plus, each touchpoint is tracked, so the partner gains valuable insight into how customers are interacting with the widget.

All the partner needs to do is fill out the values in the widget’s iframe with the customer’s information. They can choose from either inputting longitude and latitude coordinates, or simply entering the IATA code of the customer’s destination airport. Then the relevant search results will appear.

Overnight success

Icelandair started testing this cross-selling widget in January 2019 and the impact was immediately evident. Virtually overnight, car rental bookings via the airline’s confirmation page more than doubled. After almost one year in use, the widget has generated a 393% increase in confirmation page car rental cross sell year-on-year for Icelandair. It’s clear that the widget has resonated with Icelandair’s customers, and that it has helped the airline to generate a very impressive increase in its ancillary revenues.

Based on the results of the test phase, Icelandair now plans to continue using the widget, to give its customers a smoother travel booking experience, while also benefiting from additional cross sell. 

Curious about how the Booking.com widget can help improve customer experience and boost revenues on your site? Contact your account manager to learn more, and download the visual guides here.

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