Priceline Guarantees Sunshine, Gets Conversion

Have you ever had a relaxing getaway at the beach rained out and wished there was some sort of compensation you could get for your lack of a tan? In the absence of a long-awaited good weather guarantee from Mother Nature, Priceline has stepped up and taken the initiative. Their quirky Sunshine Guaranteed offer promises to refund vacation package purchases if an excessive amount of rainfall takes place on the trip. Innovative and strong performing promotional campaigns like this, along with a discount and price-focused product and marketing mix have helped make Priceline’s website conversion rates near the highest among online travel agencies.

Priceline’s shopper conversion rate (the percentage of those who perform a search on the site that ends up completing a booking) is 7%, nearly two percentage points higher than the OTA average of 5% (red bars). Promotional Clickers on Priceline, those who engage with some kind of promotional content while on the site, have an exceptional conversion rate of 13%, nearly twice the OTA average (blue bars).

In June, 12% of Priceline’s site traffic clicked on a promotion. While the Sunshine Guarantee promotion may attract only a niche audience (0.2% of Priceline shoppers), those who do click on this promotion are highly likely to convert — an impressive 24% of Sunshine clickers will complete a booking. Despite attracting relatively few clickers, it resonated with its audience and led to strong conversion rates, showing just how effective a smaller, targeted promotion can be.

Expedia‘s recent Summer of Adventure campaign was another successful promotion, on a different scale. In contrast to Priceline’s Sunshine Guarantee, Expedia’s promotion generated huge online exposure among visitors to the Expedia website.

Compete’s data is evidence that both large campaigns like Expedia’s and more targeted offers such as Priceline’s Sunshine Guaranteed can be effective in the same market.

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