Measuring UX is always tricky. How do you know ascribing to usability principles will yield increase revenue or save you money? To get to the heart of metrics Google came up with a great model called HEART/GSM.
Here's the story of how to use this model to help a boat travel company increase revenue.
Uniworld is a small river cruise company offering high-end cruises in some of the world’s most exotic places including Egypt, Russia and Europe. It is a bit player in the cruise markets and its vessels are considerably smaller than other cruise lines. Peek through
its website one can see that its branding oozes opulence. The site uses stock photography imagery featuring well-dressed,
mature people enjoying its exotic offerings and overthetop luxuriously saturated photos of its destinations throughout. Uniworld wants the world to know they cater to the high-end consumer, not your everyday Carnival cruise crowd. There cruise
prices are about fifteen times that of the average Carnival cruise ticket.
In thinking about the company, its purpose and its use of the website to contribute to its
purpose of selling river cruises I thought that it would be most beneficial to focus on
“Happiness,” “Retention,”and “Engagement.” The following is my reasoning for this:
Happiness: I think every website should aim to delight its users at all times. It is well known in
sales that people buy stuff, no matter what it is, from people they feel an affinity with. If
you’re selling $8,000 cruises down rivers you need to have affinity and likability among your top
goals. :) The feedback survey hints at this and tracks it as well.
Retention: A little bit of market research tells me there aren’t many people going on river
cruises. They’re considerably more expensive than the large ocean liner cruises and they have
less brand awareness. So the cost of acquisition, I’m assuming, is pretty high. But having repeat
customers though, that would be a great way to save costs on acquisition while reaping benefits of
rebooking. In addition, market research says cruise booking is a complicated, collaborative,
timeconsuming process that is rarely done online with one exceptionif you’ve booked with a
particular cruise line before. So making it easier for past guests to rebook would be a key goal
and provide a substantial ROI for changes made to do that. So my HEART/GSM focus, especially for a
faster more substantial ROI, would be one that puts retention in its crosshairs.
Engagement: Uniworld occupies one of the most competitive industries out there. And let’s face it,
cruise travel is a complicated process that very few people, as research says, rarely do online
or alone! According to one article, less than 10% of cruise travel booking is done online. So my
guess is Uniworld’s goal is to get visitors to speak to either a booking agent, request a quote or
talk to one of their travel specialists, rather than book a cruise. This takes engagement on the
web visitors’ part. So this should be a focus because booking a cruise is a collaborative affair.
You want visitors to be committed enough to share your content with others to put them on the
path to engaging in the complicated process of actually booking travel.
In fact, an entire startup company Cruise.me, is built upon this very concept of making the cruise booking process
more social and streamlined. Ensuring users interact with the content by sharing destinations,
cruise options, even photos or videos etc.,, with their travel booking team is a good goal to have.