easyJet Booking Engine
easyJet has 44.6 million passengers a year and 98% of them book their flights via the website. Splendid were asked to improve this experience and drive more sales through the Booking Engine.
We have been working with easyJet for a number of years on innovative user experience projects, often partnering with Microsoft, and when the booking engine came to be re-designed we were asked to work on a project to explore how users might interact with easyJet in the future.
The project broke down into two distinct phases, a Proof Of Concept (POC) that explored future travel planning and buying experiences and then the re-design of the live booking engine, taking advantage of ideas explored in the POC.
easyJet Travel 2.0 POC
easyJet Travel 2.0 (as it came to be known by the team) was a complete re-invention of how customers would interact with easyJet based around the needs of four key personas: a head of the family trying to organise a family holiday; a business traveller; a foreign student trying to get home; and a retired couple looking to see something new.
It's all about providing the appropriate content and tools for each persona. The business traveller needs a clear display of flight schedules and prices to allow him to make his choice. Whereas the retired couple can explore destinations, via Virtual Earth and user-generated content, before they travel.
The differing needs of each persona are all serviced by the same interface. The overall experience was defined by sketching the perfect user journey for each persona and their scenario. These journeys were then layered on top of each other to reveal the optimum interface for all users.
The structure of the interface and experience directly answer all the questions that our research exposed. Designing this level of complex interaction is only possible by basing the designs around previously defined personas.
In addition, Splendid, Flow Interactive and the easyJet team have built a new interface to help users explore destinations in detail, integrating other technologies such as Microsoft Virtual Earth, to provide users with rich destination information including text, video, photos and maps in a full screen format offering them a real feeling for what a visit to each destination would be like.
In addition to the destination finder, one final concept is a fare finder that gives the user the total price for their party, and lets them flip through different dates easily without resubmitting a query, together with a chart that helps the customer find the cheapest dates to travel if they're unsure of their destination. This POC was used to showcase future strategies and was also used for the launch of Microsoft SQL2008.
easyJet Booking Engine
Elements of the POC were then used to redesign the easyJet booking engine and with 98% of the 44.6 million passengers a year booking through the website it had to be right.
We used the usability test results we gathered from the POC to guide the changes and revisions to drive customer traffic and address customer drop-out points (pain points as we like to call them).
Splendid were responsible for the design process working with Flow Interactive to provide research and usability testing. Some interesting aspects of the problem were that user testing showed that people didn't like the fact that insurance was added by default and had to be removed by the user. But from a commercial point of view this was a critical step in the booking process, our task was to make the process as simple as possible and drive the commercial benefits.
The objectives were;
- To produce a concept for a fresh and uncluttered new look for the easyjet.com booking engine
- Significantly simplify the user experience
- Improve the way prices are shown in multiple languages
- Increase the relevance of information shown by adapting to previous user selections
- Develop mechanisms to up-sell users post-confirmation
- Reduce drop-out rates and increase the sales of add-ons such as hotels and hire cars
Splendid were also responsible for building the entire front-end (UI), working closely with development partner Edenbrook in the development of the new booking engine.
The booking engine won the Silver Award at the 2009 British Travel Awards.
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