The Co-operative Travel tracks impact of news on web sales

The Co-operative Travel is tracking booking patterns online in relation to how customers react to news, weather and sports reports each day.

Head of e-commerce Neil Hardy is ensuring major news stories that could impact on bookings through any of its websites are logged and bookings tracked on that day to detect any noticeable trend. Group sites include the cooperativetravel.co.uk site, launched in December last year, and cumbriacruise.co.uk.

The group only began the process six weeks ago and hopes to have a better picture of any corrolation between events and sales in the next few months.

Hardy said: “Anything about the recession or job cuts can have an impact and every day we are tracking swine flu reports, for example, to see if they have affected our web traffic.”

The move will could help the group assess any daily lows or highs in online bookings in a year’s time when looking at year-on-year figures to detect any links to major events outside of the travel industry, he said.

Meanwhile, Hardy is confident cooperativetravel.co.uk, which merged the previous United Co-op and Travelcare sites, will achieve last year’s full-year figures by the end of May.

Revenues generated by the site are already up 285% since its relaunch in December, while visitor numbers are up 220% on a like-for-like basis, he said.

The travel group’s recent results for the year ending January 10, 2009 credited the website with boosting online sales, up 250% in the month of January.

Bookings made online still make up a small number of overall bookings but average values of sales made online are around £1,000.

Hardy said: “We are seeing online bookings holding and this is even before we have got into the peaks. We are expecting to have a reasonably good year.”

This is partly based on the recent rebranding and marketing campaign of The Co-operative Group and the “trust factor” in its name, added Hardy.

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