Costco Travel sells vacation packages exclusively to Costco members.
This is done by using their buying power to negotiate the best value possible and
pass those savings on to their members.
Costco travel operates in the vacation packages, cruises and theme parks market. While they are the leader in cruises and theme park tickets, the vacation packages get stiff competition from other players like Expedia.
How do you inspire people to book with us and make sure we address customer’s answers while at the same time reduce the call volume to their support center? Design a website experience that inspires and better communicates the content and value of CostcoTravel’s vacation packages.
I asked myself, how can we get Costco members to see the value of these packaged deals and get inspired?
Since the scope of the project were limited to vision and execution, I took to low cost, high yield guerilla research methods and interviewed several Costco employees who were in direct contact with their membership, among those interviewed were customer service staff. We asked them what questions they usually got from their members.
I found that Costco members’ reason for buying wasn’t specifically the destination, but rather the convenience and the knowledge that Costco has the best price. This created an opportunity for me to create a UX strategy around inspiring travel design.
However, there were some additional issues we uncovered. A lot of customer’s questions weren’t answered on the website, resulting in a big call volume to their helpdesk. As a result, there was a big drop off rate early in the sales funnel and customer service agents were occupied with answering mundane questions over and over again, taking away any chance of upsell or cross-sell. The information architecture needed to address this lack of transparency in content.
For the inspiring design approach, I discovered that the client had high quality assets that were left unused. So I made sure we got access to all those assets and wow the customers.
By concisely communicating the unique selling points of the package and being upfront about details and restrictions, I changed the conversation between customers and customer representatives from questions that weren’t answered on the website to questions that could lead to value adds.
I also proposed to take away key roadblocks in the user flow, especially on check-out where previously we saw a big drop off rate. What I advocated for to the client was to move the check out later in the sales funnel, when the customer was more committed to buy.
All this resulted in a set of wireframes I presented to the client. After each presentation I made iterations to the wireframes and a followup with the client. The last step was to work with the visual designer and make the design come to life.
I challenged the client to think more holistically about the sales funnel and through mostly guerilla style research, gave them insights of their users that helped them make crucial decisions. With my experience in the travel industry, I was able to bring domain expertise and travel industry best practices to the client.