In 2008, the Co-op Group Travel 1 Limited Group decided to consolidate two of its websites into a single master site to become the UK’s largest independent travel agent.
The Co-operative Travel decided to consolidate two of its websites (www.cooptravelshop.co.uk and www.travelcare.co.uk) into one site. In an incredibly competitive industry, it was vital that the new site was engaging and dynamic to have the best chance of success.
“Engaging content is key to securing business in the highly competitive travel sector.”
Working with its digital agency, Ultimedia, Co-operative Travel evaluated a number of CMS solutions and found EPiServer to be the best fit to provide the advanced CMS, e-commerce functionality and managed hosting service it needed for its consolidated online presence.
Using EPiServer CMS the new Co-operative Travel site has a range of advanced features including easy integration with other existing systems, such as its booking engine Traveltek, Tripadvisor and Google.
Co-operative Travel is the UK’s largest independent travel agent and is unmatched in the range of holidays it offers, backed up by low price points. But this alone is not enough to secure a winning position in what is a highly competitive online travel market. Co-operative Travel knew that, with competitors literally a click away via Google, it needed to build a site that was engaging and ‘sticky’ to deliver a perfect customer experience.
“We had some pretty challenging demands for the site. Not only did it need to be highly adaptable and dynamic, so that we could offer the latest deals to our customers in the shortest time-space possible, it also needed to draw them in and encourage them to make a booking.” – Co-operative Travel
Using EPiServer, Ultimedia was able to ensure the site would be constantly updated with the latest product availability and promotions in the easiest possible way. All offers on the site are dynamically generated every four hours, but can also be manually updated by Co-operative Travel’s in house content managers. The CMS automatically embed these offers throughout the site and at all points of the booking funnel to minimise drop out rate.
"The site achieves more than what we required by mixing automated, dynamic updates with the flexibility that allows our content managers to make changes as necessary.” - Co-operative Travel
Another way to make the site more engaging for visitors the moment they landed on the homepage was to use advanced localisation and personalization. Using EPiServer CMS, landing page content on the site is now targeted at visitors with information based on their current location. For example, if a customer logs on from Bristol to book a flight or holiday to Tenerife the site can, via IP, identify where they are located and automatically suggest relevant holidays from Bristol Airport.
With most people coming to the site to book a family holiday, social media integration has a big role to play on the new site. The EPiServer CMS automatically includes social media bookmarks for Facebook, Digg, Twitter, Delicious and others. In addition, Ultimedia used EPiServer to create a ‘Send to a friend’ function, to allow users to share content via email and increase referral.
“Social commerce is an increasingly important part of the online customer journey. Many of our referrals now come from social media websites, so it was important that the site had this functionality built in.” - Co-operative Travel
To increase the speed of delivery of the Co-operative Travel website and to ensure the best testing and staging environment for any changes to the platform, Ultimedia used EPiServer Everweb. Everweb is a hosting service that provides all services and resources required for an EPiServer-based website containing IP-access, firewalling, backup, hardware, Microsoft licensing, antivirus and monitoring applications.
“Using Everweb gives us the ability to provide Co-operative Travel with tailored monitoring of critical features covering availability and performance of the website, which is essential in the fast moving travel market. The hosting service, also allows us to present results in a user friendly management dashboard that can be accessed by all parties.” - Ultimedia
The consolidated website has been a proven success, with a 95% increase in visitors and with revenue up 217%.
“The new site is exceeding our expectations across the board, but I’m particularly pleased with the increase in conversions and revenue. It just goes to show that, using the advanced features in EPiServer CMS, we have been able to create a site that is more dynamic, engaging and that meets the high demands and expectations of our customers.” – Co-operative Travel
Co-operative Travel has upgraded the site to the latest version of EPiServer CMS, which will bring additional personalisation opportunities, mobile capability and SEO enhancements.
A Co-operative spokesperson added, “We’re not standing still and there are always improvements and upgrades we can make to the site. We’re working closely with EPiServer and Ultimedia to ensure we are always at the cutting edge and providing the best possible experience for all our customers.”
Interview with Co-operative Travel
The Co-operative Travel site has been nominated and won
EPiServer 7 CMS
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