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Testing a tourism website

Client: Enjoy Staffordshire
Sector: Tourism
Service: Product and service research
Added August 22nd 2019

Background

Enjoy Staffordshire - the county home to Alton Towers and Drayton Manor Park- had developed a variety of short break packages to encourage visitors to the county.  The breaks were aimed at a range of audiences by combining the many attractions with a range of hotels at a reduced price and were promoted on a separate website – Staffordsheerescapes.  In addition to promoting the county and the breaks, the website also offered the facility to book the breaks.

However despite a good level of visitors to the site, very few were progressing through the booking stage.

Challenge

We needed to speak to visitors to the site about their experiences and views on the packages, however, the client did not have access to a database of those who had booked through the site.

We therefore needed to create a pool of people who had visited the site and progressed through to booking.  These needed to fit the criteria of the target audiences the client is trying to attract:

  • Family, thrill seekers – aged between 34-50 with at least 1 child under 12
  • Culture/active – aged between 35-65, couples with no or older children (18+) with an             interest in culture, heritage and leisure
  • Living within a 2 – 2.5 hour catchment of Staffordshire
  • Had booked a short break in the UK in the last 3 years AND had done so on the internet

Solution

Our field recruiters used a recruitment script to ensure respondents met the above criteria and recruited on a door-to-door basis in the target areas of Altrincham, Watford and Bristol.

In addition to being required to attend a focus group, the respondents were given a brief and asked to spend at least an hour on the site as if they were looking to research and book a short break in Staffordshire.  They were required to fill in a note template and to bring this to the focus group.

Outcome

As a result of the focus groups, the client was given a clear view on which packages had most appeal, the pricing of the packages, the range of hotels offered and importantly, the issues that the visitors to the site had when booking any of the breaks. 

This enabled the client to identify specific improvements to the content and navigation of the website and to negotiate with the supplier of the booking portal to make important changes.

Consequently, the client is optimistic about moving forward with its promotion of the county as a short break destination.