Center Parcs is one of the UK’s leading providers of family holidays and short breaks. It currently operates four holiday ‘villages’, with a fifth due to open in 2014. The company boasts an impressive 97% occupancy all-year-round. In line with national trends, around 80% of Center Parcs’ bookings come through the online channel, with the remaining 20% arriving via the company’s own contact center. The growth of the online channel has been rapid. To grow further, Center Parcs knew that it needed to optimize the online experience.
In 2012, Center Parcs chose to partner with us to develop a long-term customer experience optimization strategy. They had key objectives – to improve online conversion and encourage users to book earlier and to prepare the way for the opening of the new village in Woburn.
“Only a few years ago, our website took around 20% of our bookings. We have focused on shifting our bookings online and have had huge success in bringing this up to 80% but technology and consumer behavior is constantly changing. Developments in real-time data and behavior analysis on websites mean that we now add Maxymiser to our solid research, usability and design disciplines, in order to improve the online experience and our conversion rates,” says Elena Ragone Marriott, Head of Digital Marketing and Media at Center Parcs. “With Maxymiser, we are removing any risk with the changes we make, but, most importantly, we can move and react quickly by making real-time changes based on real-time data. We were quickly able to see the value of Maxymiser in providing real data to underpin critical decisions.”
Since the initial tests, which provided internal stakeholders with proof that multivariate testing delivered significant strategic benefits, Center Parcs has embarked on a strategic optimization program to improve online conversion. “We are really pleased and are convinced that there are even bigger wins that we can gain,” says Ragone Marriott. Beyond conversion, the optimization strategy is helping Center Parcs to deliver operational efficiencies. “Maxymiser’s ability to serve the winning experiences for us until we are able to hard code them is really beneficial, both from a resourcing and a planning perspective. It’s so much easier to prioritize development,” explains Ragone Marriott.
“We’ve always known that online testing is important, and now we’ve got the vehicle to do it,” says Ragone Marriott. “Maxymiser provides us with independent evidence to challenge our thinking, and generates vital data to underpin key decisions and build business cases. It’s been a really positive experience and, as we move beyond the opening of our fifth village next year, we will continue to test so that we deliver services that align with customer needs. There is no doubt at all that using Maxymiser has been the right thing for us to do,” concludes Ragone Marriott.