Travel comparison site Dealchecker says it’s in the middle of a revolution as it targets the holidays sector for growth.
The site, which was bought three years ago by EasyVoyage to spearhead the French travel giant’s entry into the UK market, wants to present a more human face in front of the technology.
Mark Atwell, who joined as managing director from Comparethemarket.com in September 2011, said he agreed with recent comments made by Abta chairman Noel Josephides.
“I joined the travel industry because I loved the human element. We loved travel and we want to share it with our users.”
Dealchecker has been revamping its sector pages with holidays being the latest to undergo a refresh. It says tests have shown a 20% increase in click-through to results.
“The holidays pages represent a key growth area for our business; we have a rolling programme of improvements for Dealchecker and the holiday pages were the next in line to receive attention.”
A key addition has been advice from the comparison site’s team of 19 ‘dealcheckers’, each one a real person and each given a persona on the site.
Impartial advice about how to find the best deal is now positioned where the users’ eye is naturally drawn to on the page.
“In total we are a team of only 27 – we cannot compete with some of the big guys and some of our competitors are fantastic with really innovative sites.
“But what we do have is a very unique style of communicating that’s not formal, it’s written from the heart. We have no style guides saying it has to be written like this.
“I have huge respect for the guys we compete against, but we want to bring that human element to it.”
Atwell said one of the key drivers for redeveloping the site has come from the rise of mobile, and in particular tablet, browsing. Dealchecker now has a responsive design.
He said the firm had been relatively quiet for the last three years since the purchase by Easyvoyage as it was “quietly getting itself straight”.
But he said the site was now ready to make a lot more noise. “We have the team and structure in place, it’s now about pushing forward.”
Alice Mariscotti-Wyatt, who heads up the content team, said: “On the deals page we want to offer more information.
“Seeing someone’s face means our users know there’s a human being behind it, unlike with some of our competitors.
“You can meet the dealcheckers, everyone is empowered, everyone should have confidence in talking about the product.”
She added: “Subscribers and users are particularly keen on the featured deals in these [holiday] pages as they offer a quick route to the holiday they desire at the right price.
“The changes have certainly increased our mobile traffic for travel partners and we have had some great feedback on editorial content.”
Dealchecker has 1.5 million subscribers to which it sends a handpicked top 20 deals to every Wednesday.
Atwell said the site worked with its advertisers to make sure that the deals they promote are available and customers are able to book them when they arrive on their site.
He said this was true whether the supplier has a bookable website or mobile site or whether it prefers to take bookings over the phone.
“We do not want to create any barriers to entry. Some suppliers are very small niche providers. They know they product but do not necessarily have access to technology.”