Best practice ‘old hat’ says online marketer

Travel websites are making basic mistakes and not improving their web metrics, according to Mark Simpson, founder and managing director of online-marketer Maxymiser, who dismissed “best practice” as “old hat”.

“Best practice reverts to the lowest common denominator,” Simpson told Travolution. “It’s generic and makes assumptions that have typically been agreed by ‘experts’ in a closed room, based on past experience and the input of random focus groups.”

He suggested travel sites should not assume a version that has been “polished and perfected before going public” is the most effective. The best way for businesses to improve their web metrics was to “test thousands of slightly different variations of web pages in a live environment to see which yields the best results”.

Simpson said Maxymiser client National Express had raised its conversion rate by 14% through reducing the number of users dropping out at a third stage of the booking process. Live testing found that changing the copy and layout, and even presenting the “continue” button in a different way, increased the flow-through from a page – leading to more bookings.

Many travel websites were still making mistakes such as not including the right search fields or making visitors fill in details more than once, he said – adding that multivariate testing “represents greater value for money than search engine optimisation”.

Maxymiser’s travel clients include, On The Beach and FlyBe.

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