Unlocking Loyalty with Customer Journey Optimization

+618%

Conversion rate uplift on email

+16.76%

Conversion rate uplift by surfacing USPs on mobile

+103%

Increase in margin with seasonal campaign support

Download the Case Study

As advocates for young people to see the world, StudentUniverse provides unique value on travel products to students and young adults. Here’s how its team worked with Yieldify to unlock loyalty by optimizing the customer journey.

Challenges

While many travel brands focus heavily on acquisition, StudentUniverse recognized the huge potential value in activating its existing customer and subscriber base – a repeat booker costs half as much to acquire, and returns 2.5x in value – in short, 5 times more business benefit.

However, StudentUniverse was also well aware that loyalty in travel has evolved beyond competition on price and loyalty programs: every step in the customer journey now has a part to play.

StudentUniverse needed help understanding the behavior of potentially loyal customers and developing a customer journey optimization strategy to unlock their value. Together with Yieldify, they sought to answer the following questions:

  • How to identify and use returning visitor behavior to drive conversion
  • How to encourage existing and returning customers to book
  • How to create personalized incentives based on data

Solutions

Identifying and using returning visitor behavior to drive conversion

In order to gain insight into the behavior of its visitors, StudentUniverse looked to both qualitative and quantitative data.

For the quantitative data, StudentUniverse made use of Yieldify’s Customer Journey Analytics service. Via sunburst data visualizations of the onsite user journeys, StudentUniverse was able to view multiple multidirectional user journeys for both new and returning visitors.

Sunburst diagrams

The data visualizations revealed two key new insights:

  • New users were conducting multiple searches within their journey, and then exiting the site. 
  • Returning users exhibited similar behavior but at a greater frequency. 

In order to counteract these behaviors and try to point the user in the right direction after they had made multiple searches, Yieldify presented them with an overlay and three options: 

  1. I’m not sure where to go
  2. I’m happy browsing
  3. I can’t find the right price

As well as re-engaging visitors, this enabled StudentUniverse to gain qualitative insight into the reasons visitors were carrying out multiple searches, and shape their journey based on this. 

Depending on the selection made, the brand was able to present the visitor with the relevant information. For example, if they selected ‘I can’t find the right price’ they would be prompted to log in for preferential rates.

Encouraging existing and returning customers to book

With a better understanding of the audience, Yieldify and StudentUniverse looked to develop further journeys to target them, leveraging incentives and value propositions.

A value-focused journey looked to surface reminders to returning visitors of why they came back to StudentUniverse: exclusive student and youth fares, expert travel support and discounted adventure tours.

The incentive-based campaign leveraged Black Friday, targeting existing customers to offer them early access to Black Friday offers. This consumer-centric approach – allowing selected VIP customers to opt-in to receive offers via email – was designed to provide a better experience, as well as improving margin by shifting focus away from new customer acquisition.

Results

The customer journey analysis that StudentUniverse was able to do via the Yieldify sunburst and survey campaign meant it had a solid foundation of data on which to base its customer journey optimization.

The Black Friday VIP campaign saw a 618% uplift in conversion rate compared to what the brand usually sees through email marketing. In addition, by switching focus from new customer acquisition to repeat customers and returning visitors, margin was up by 103%, despite discounting. To further underline the success of this campaign, 23% of all sales on Black Friday were attributable to it.

For the value-focused campaign, both desktop and mobile versions drove an uplift in conversion rate, average order value and incremental revenue with no additional media spend.

Interestingly, mobile conversion was almost 4x higher, the opposite to what is generally seen within travel i.e. that visitors research on mobile, and go on to convert on desktop. This demonstrates the value in personalizing the journey for different visitor segments and behaviours, in this case, the high level of trust from returning users.

Results

+618%

Conversion rate uplift on email

+16.76%

Conversion rate uplift by surfacing USPs on mobile

+103%

Increase in margin with seasonal campaign support


“Travel is an incredibly fragmented industry in terms of the user journey to purchase – identifying which visitors are in the research phase versus those with intent to buy can be really difficult to pinpoint. Yieldify has helped us gain a more granular understanding of visitor behavior that we can then act on to create better, more personalized customer journeys. The results have been great, and the fact that we’re not only increasing conversions but also seeing results when it comes to building loyalty speaks to the value the Yieldify team and technology bring to the table.”