New meta-search flights site Directflights.com has claimed it is delivering conversion rates of up to 8% ahead of its full launch this month.
The site, which has evolved from a high street store based in New Malden, Surrey, was soft launched at World Travel Market in November last year.
Ahead of a major £1 million print and online marketing push from this month the site claimed to be driving conversions of between 5% and 8% for advertisers, compared to an industry average of around 4%.
Rob Stross, managing director, said: “It’s early days, but anecdotally speaking the conversion rates are healthy compared to other meta-search engines.
“What we are all about now as a business is really stepping up the marketing side of it, driving traffic to the site.”
Directflights has an offline radio and consumer print marketing campaign planned but will spend 80% of its budget on digital with a big focus on SEO.
“The advantage we have got is our URL. About 400,000 people a month search for direct flights on Google,” Stross added.
Two unique features of the site Stross expects to make Directflights stand out are its grid results option and its carbon friendly flight search.
The grid view displays results in a more user-friendly way, claimed Stross, allowing users to easily see both the agent and the airline offering the deal. The layout is the result of consumer and trade feedback through focus groups.
The grid highlights the cheapest fare available and, as with most rival sites, the results can be filtered by departure and arrival times, stopovers and prices. Specific carriers can also be filtered out.
The six agencies shown in the grid are rotated and smaller agencies that do not have the ability to offer XML feeds to provide direct links to the fare are listed below.
Directflights currently has deals with 10 agencies but is looking to increase that to 15.
“What we have done is listen to what the consumer wants,” Stross said. “Our main objective from an agent perspective is to deliver a qualified lead direct to them so the consumer knows as much information about the flight as possible.
“The whole focus of this is to get people to the agents and to complete the booking online.”
Agents with direct XML links are currently being charged 50p per click, while those without are charged 20p.
Although Stross accepts that most air travellers are not actively choosing their options based on the environmental impact, he believes Directflights carbon search is serving a growing demand.
The search highlights the “greenest” search based on an independent rating of the airlines’ carbon efficiency.
“This is really all about giving the consumer a choice if they want to take a more environmentally friendly option.
“At the moment we have 15% to 20% of our users using the green flight search to search for their flights.
“We are at the early stages and whether that’s people’s main criteria for making a flight purchase, probably not at this stage but we are recognising this is something people are interested in.”
Stross said Directflights is looking to find affiliate partners and at international expansion, with talks being held with partners in the US.