Following extensive site redesign work, MyTravel, one of the UK’s leading holiday and leisure groups with brands including Airtours, Going Places and, is reaping significant improvements in online sales.

The three-phase redesign, developed in partnership with Foviance, has already resulted in an overall 20 per cent increase in online booking conversion following the completion of the first two phases. Work on the third phase is to commence later this month.

The first phase, which went live in December, reduced booking times by up to 40 per cent by simplifying the number of steps needed to book from eight to five. This resulted in a 10 per cent improvement in conversion levels across all MyTravel’s websites.

The second phase, which went live in June, involved a complete redesign of all sites, introducing a more intuitive navigational structure and better utilisation of page real estate. This has resulted in a further 10 per cent improvement in conversion levels.

“The Internet is an increasingly important channel for us,” said Russell Gould, director of Digital Marketing at MyTravel. “We have already experienced substantial growth via our digital channels over the last period with online sales growing from less than five per cent in 2004 to over 20 per cent since March this year.”

“We first identified the areas where we could make the most immediate impact,” explained Gould. “The booking process was initially streamlined from eight steps to five and this, alongside the more recent changes to navigation paths, has resulted in us experiencing immediate improvements in conversion rates.”

The work on the MyTravel websites, which began in 2005 and will continue until autumn 2006, involved extensive user testing. Reviewers examined MyTravel websites and also the sites of its competitors. Findings were then cross-compared to establish the positive and negative aspects of website design for the travel industry. Data gleaned from customer surveys on websites in the MyTravel portfolio was also incorporated into the consultancy procedure.

Catriona Campbell, Director of Foviance, said, “Our approach with the MyTravel portfolio was to find a single web design format that was well suited to the demands of the travelling consumer and then apply this template to each of the MyTravel websites. This ensures a consistency of design, which is beneficial for both MyTravel and its customers. It also creates a proven model that gives MyTravel absolute confidence that each of its websites is performing as well as it possibly can.”

In addition, MyTravel together with Foviance referenced market-leading websites from outside the travel industry. These provided benchmarks for successful site design with formats familiar to, and popular with, consumers. These included Yahoo, Amazon, John Lewis and the BBC.

The final phase of the site redesign, already underway and to be delivered during August and September, will involve further enhancements to MyTravel’s websites. Richer content will be added in the form of additional relevant images, 360-degree virtual tours of resorts and accommodation, video footage, maps, weather, and greater detailed information on activities and facilities.

Published on: 12:00AM on 11th August 2006