Webjet was seeking to answer the following question: Does the sales funnel from the shopping cart to purchase improve when rich content is introduced? Image via Webjet

APEX Insight: The results of an A/B test conducted by Webjet and Routehappy showed that people are 26.3 percent more likely to purchase a flight when they’re presented with videos, photos and descriptions of a flight’s features and amenities during the booking process.

Webjet, Australia and New Zealand’s largest online travel agency, has successfully tested the integration of rich content into its search and booking process. In an A/B test, half of international economy-flight shoppers visiting Webjet’s site were presented with the standard search results as they looked for fares, while the other half were presented with Universal Product Attributes (UPAs) provided by Routehappy. These rich-content results included videos, photos and descriptions of each flight’s features and amenities.

Webjet was seeking to answer the following question: Does the sales funnel from the shopping cart to purchase improve when rich content is introduced? The results were beyond encouraging – the group presented with UPAs delivered a 26.3 percent conversion increase over the group presented with vanilla search results. “We were really pleased and frankly a little surprised by how good the conversion was,” said Routehappy CEO Robert Albert.  Routehappy started with a hypothesis that customers would respond to deeper information by purchasing more frequently, he said, and now the company has data to back that up.

“We were really pleased and frankly a little surprised by how good the conversion was.” — Robert Albert, Routehappy CEO

“This is one of those rare moments in the evolution of an industry where something is happening that’s a win-win-win,” said Albert. “Airlines are happy about getting their product attributes out there to consumers, distributors are happy to be offering more value to both airlines and consumers, and consumers are happy to be seeing what they’re buying.”

Airlines participating in the Webjet-Routehappy UPA experiment include Qantas Airways, Virgin Australia, Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, Emirates, United Airlines and Air Canada. “We are excited by the early positive signs of this integration, and our aim is to increase the number of shoppers who interact with the rich content,” said Webjet’s managing director, John Guscic. “It’s an exciting innovation, and clearly a positive experience for our customers seeking more information when deciding which flight is best for their travels.”

Webjet announced its partnership with Routehappy in November 2016. Routehappy, which began as a sort of Yelp for airlines, has repositioned itself as a facilitator for airlines themselves, letting carriers share cabin amenity information with prospective passengers. So far, the use of UPAs has focused on international flights. “We think that when consumers buy international, they care about the product features because they’re going to be on the plane for a long time,” said Albert, adding that how best to identify and then quantify the selling points of a short-haul or commuter flight is still an industry-wide work in progress.

Jordan juggles deadlines across various time zones as he writes about travel, culture, entertainment, and technology.