Maximizing ROI Through Conversion Rate Optimization


Author: Robert Patterson, SVP, Marketing Technology

Travel brands are rushing to attract travelers, generate revenue and gain market share lost during the pandemic. However, many brands are overlooking a significant opportunity to maximize their advertising and marketing return on investments through conversion rate optimization (CRO). Conversion rate optimization is a process of increasing the percentage of conversion from a website or app by introducing, modifying or removing elements to improve the user experience through A/B and multivariate testing and marketing overlays. These minor revisions and adjustments to a website or app experience can result in significant results and revenue.

For example, a hotel driving 100,000 visitors to its website with a 1% conversion rate and an average spend of $500 will generate 1,000 customers and $500,000 of revenue. However, if that same hotel is able to improve its conversion rate by just a quarter of a percent, the results would equate to 1,250 customers and $625,000 of revenue – a 25% increase totaling $125,000. Factor in significant media investments and it is easy to see how CRO can quickly lead to improvements in return on advertising spend (ROAS) and ROI improvements for investments being made across all marketing channels.

Similarly, tourism destinations looking to increase their email database or cruise lines seeking to increase their leads would benefit from CRO efforts to drive higher conversions leading to more opt-ins.

With mobile sessions now exceeding desktop sessions, travel brands need to be delivering an exceptional mobile-first experience or risk losing a prospective traveler to another brand’s efforts. For the past three years, travel marketers have named user experience as the number one thing they wish they could improve about their website according to MMGY Global’s Destination Marketing Technology Survey. Survey respondents named navigation and information architecture, mobile experience, and brand storytelling and content merchandising as the top areas of user experience that need improvement.

Source: 2021 MMGY Global Destination Marketing Technology Survey

Get Started with MMGY Global: 

To start optimizing conversion rates, MMGY Global recommends that travel brands first analyze and assess their website or app user experience (UX) prior to any significant media investments. A detailed user experience audit and usability testing conducted by an MMGY Global UX subject matter expert can uncover immediate improvement opportunities and provide strategic and technical recommendations for both the near- and long-term. 

Once foundational UX improvements have been made, brands can then benefit from additional CRO improvements through website personalization tactics such as A/B testing and marketing overlays. Historically these marketing overlays result in double-digit growth improvements to website engagement metrics and typically triple-digit growth improvements to goal conversions.

Recent Case Studies

Our marketing technology team works with some of the world’s top travel brands to deliver award-winning CRO and website personalization programs. Successful conversion rate optimization initiatives have been launched for clients including Costa Rica Tourism, Fort Myers – Islands, Beaches and Neighborhoods, Meritage Collection, Los Cabos Tourism, Destination DC, Sensei Wellness Holdings and Windstar Cruises.

Meritage Collection

  • Campaign: Increase Direct Booking Conversion and Recapture Revenue
  • Campaign Description: 

    • The Meritage Collection wanted to enhance the performance of their website, expand on-site messaging capabilities and increase the direct booking conversion rate while serving content that was contextual and timely.
    • MMGY launched website personalization for all five of the Meritage Collection’s properties. The strategy involved using web personalization modals to communicate no-fee booking guarantees and the latest offers, retargeting banners to redirect abandoning users back into the booking process, fly-ins to communicate unique property experiences, and global banners to reassure visitors of the health and hospitality promise.
    • Desktop and mobile modal templates were produced, which could be quickly adapted for new promotional offers. We also used personalization modals to communicate the Meritage Collection’s “No-Fee Guarantee” message to persuade hesitant travelers during an uncertain time. The presence of modals achieved a 33.72% lift in the direct booking conversion rate since launch.
  • The Results
    • $1,557,337 of revenue recaptured over 9 months through direct click engagement with MMGY’s on-site reservation abandonment retargeting strategy
    • 33.72% lift in e-commerce conversion rate when promotional modal campaigns were present
    • 41.84% increase in average pages per visit and 34.62% average increase in session duration in personalized sessions across properties
    • 46.95% average decrease in bounce rate in personalized sessions across properties

Destination DC

  • Campaign: Optimize Conversion from Media-Exposed Visitors
  • Campaign Description: 

    • The goal of the campaign was to eliminate the data dark spot between digital media and the destination’s website in order to maximize the investments being made in both
    • Align target audiences with tactics for prospecting, retargeting and conversion
    • Optimize media investments by serving personalized content specific to each audience’s interests in order to motivate travelers to complete specific website goals including signing up for the visitor’s guide and the DC Insider e-newsletter and visiting the Hotel Deals page
  • The Results
    • 250% increase in email lead conversion rate from media referrals
    • 121% increase in visitor guide conversion rate from media referrals
    • 51% increase in year-over-year traffic to Hotel Deals with 36% of total page views coming from the media-exposed personalization campaign

Windstar Cruises

  • Campaign: Reimagining a Cruise Website User Experience
  • Campaign Description: 

    • MMGY Global conducted a usability audit and cruise line competitive analysis to understand the landscape and existing shortcomings of other cruise websites
    • A usability testing strategy was produced to validate user experience choices in the design prototype through user testing
    • Following user experience testing and revisions, MMGY Global designed a new website user experience and user interface design to modernize the cruise brand and improve online conversions by addressing user pain points in the conversion process
  • The Results
    • 62% increase in website sessions
    • 45% increase in pageviews
    • 34% increase in quote requests