The web's most visited city travel site wins big by optimizing conversion rates through automated multivariate testing

Challenge:

Optimize VEGAS.com's heavily traveled website, with the ability to seamlessly test multiple variations of the site's ever-changing content in real-time, without the need for conventional, manual testing processes that require changes to the site's source code.

Solution:

SiteSpect enabled VEGAS.com to simultaneously test the multiple variants of the site's content, navigation, and merchandising, without relying on its in-house IT staff to make changes to the site's source code.

VEGAS.com's mission is to be the most customer friendly, innovative, and comprehensive Vegas travel company. The website features more Vegas-focused tourist information than any other website, including accommodations, nightlife, entertainment and more. Over 2.5 million unique visitors visit VEGAS.com websites each month.

The website's rapidly changing content, along with the navigation of the complex site, made it difficult for VEGAS.com to test the effectiveness of web pages using its manual in-house process, which involved as many as three departments to execute a simple test.

After conducting a vendor audit, VEGAS.com realized SiteSpect was the best solution for its needs, providing the maximum flexibility and convenience of easily launching and running A/B and multivariate tests without the need for costly IT resources. The SiteSpect solution allows VEGAS.com to replace its manually driven testing process with an automated system that will not tax its web site development team. This enables VEGAS.com's business users to implement complex multivariate tests independently, without modifying existing content, a capability unique to the patented SiteSpect system.

A winning hand

"We have a unique culture and ability to react quickly to new ideas and SiteSpect shone in its ability to support our requirement for the quick implementation of tests," said Mike Brown, Vice President of Internet Marketing at VEGAS.com. "Our marketing and product staff don't have to plan and schedule a test weeks in advance, waiting for internal IT resources or a vendor's implementation team to become available. SiteSpect's self-service solution allows our business users to create and launch a plethora of different test campaigns themselves — from straightforward text changes to page layout changes to content changes on dynamically-generated pages."

Brown elaborated: "In the past, our in-house A/B testing was a manual, time-consuming process that was filled with compromise. Simultaneous A/B testing came at the cost of organic search rankings. Sequential A/B testing — the switching of variables one at a time over the course of weeks and comparing results — introduced uncontrolled variables like fluctuating prices and inventory levels, so we could never be 100% sure of the test results. With SiteSpect, we're getting precise testing that isn't affecting our search engine optimization strategy. At the same time, we're also gaining the efficiencies of simultaneous multivariate testing."

Todd Martin, VEGAS.com's Product Optimization Manager, concurs with Brown. "We needed to find a solution which enabled us to run site tests quickly. Using SiteSpect, we've run tests that have taken as little as five minutes from concept to execution. This speed is vital, since our site is constantly adding new deals from our providers and SiteSpect enables us to test these changes in real-time to determine the effect it has on our customers' experience."

Before SiteSpect, Martin says that in some cases a simple change in color of a navigation button would require input from three separate departments; content, development, and user-interface. "SiteSpect has even helped VEGAS.com in terms of human resources," said Martin. "It is amazing how easy it is to generate such dynamic changes to our site by only one person in a short amount of time."

Hitting the jackpot

"One of the most exciting features of SiteSpect is its ability to test multiple variations of the site concurrently," Martin said. "We are no longer faced with the challenge of prioritizing which variable to test. Now we are able to run tests for site optimization while also running a test for a new merchandising deal."

For example, VEGAS.com ran a test to determine what combination of online security messaging components would be most conducive to raising sales conversion rates for site visitors. The company simultaneously tested 4 security icons, 3 text treatments, and their placements on 5 different pages within the site to determine the winning combination. The winning variation produced significant improvements across multiple key performance indicators, including site abandonment, visitor page views per session, and overall conversion rates. SiteSpect has also helped VEGAS.com save time and money by enabling them to test web offer concepts in the early stages before investing in these initiatives. SiteSpect testing quickly revealed whether or not a web promotion would perform adequately, allowing VEGAS.com to prioritize the investment of its development resources into proven winning concepts.

About VEGAS.com

VEGAS.com is the largest city destination travel website in the world with extensive, constantly updated information and a full range of travel products including hotel rooms, air-hotel packages, show tickets, tours and golf. A state-of-the-art contact center provides customer support, expert information and sales 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to complement the information on www.VEGAS.com and www.espanol.Vegas.com. VEGAS.com, through its Casino Travel & Tours unit, operates retail and concierge desks at more than 70 locations including the Palms, Paris, Harrah's, Bally's, Mandalay Bay, Excalibur, New York-New York, Luxor and more. The company also offers a variety of excursions including city tours, the Hoover Dam, and the Grand Canyon. VEGAS.com is a member of the Greenspun Family of Companies, privately owned and operating in Southern Nevada for more than 60 years.