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Alitalia increases online bookings thanks to Webtrends

Webtrends Optimize enables the largest Italian airline to raise online bookings by 7.09% in just three months

The amount of data to analyze was so huge that existing free tools did not allow us to understand them properly, when we started working with Webtrends, not only could we see the tip but also the hidden part of the iceberg.

Nicola Arnese
VP eCommerce, Alitalia

The Customer

Alitalia, with its head office in Rome, is the main passenger transport group in Italy and among the leading players in European air transport. The Alitalia Group provides service to 95 destinations, 27 in Italy and 67 in the rest of the world for a total of 189 routes served with more than 5500 weekly flights.

The airline sells its services online, worldwide, in 14 different languages. Every month, Alitalia’s website receives over 5 million visits, 12% of which come from mobile devices (80% from tablets). Alitalia registers over 900,000 transactions monthly, including check-ins and tickets sold. In Italy, one customer out of three purchases online: for some specific routes – for example, departures from Bergamo and Verona – over 60% of customers buy online.

The Challenge

Alitalia’s strategic objective was to guarantee that all services offered were fully available via digital channels, in the simplest and most intuitive way possible. To increase visits and conversion rates, Alitalia needed to be sure that customers always received the right information, got exactly what they were looking for and could rely on a simple purchase process. This would ensure they stayed ahead of their competitors.

The Solution

In late 2011, Alitalia selected Webtrends Optimize – a testing and targeting solution enabling a deeper visitor engagement, greater relevance and improved conversions and revenue. Optimize combines both A/B and multivariate test types, to identify and target the most valuable customer segments. This enables companies to then target these specific segments with customised campaigns, offering real time relevant content, resulting in improved ROI. Furthermore, Webtrends experienced consultative team provide a fully managed service that supports comprehensive, best practise programmes which ultimately deliver results.

Alitalia and the Webtrends Optimize team worked closely together to define processes and objectives. They carried out different tests on a certain number of pages, including the special offers page which is the most important as it receives the majority of traffic from their paid search marketing campaigns. “Once the optimal page had been identified, we could see an increase of click-through conversions of about 6%, a great result if we consider that our website gets an average of 200,000 visitors per day. A further measurement demonstrated that the optimised page led to an increase of 500 online bookings over three weeks, which means about 220,000 euros per month, at an average Alitalia price,” states Nicola Arnese, VP eCommerce, Alitalia.

A further three tests were carried out on the home page, until the most successful one, which delivered the highest number of conversions, was identified. “The expertise and consultative approach of the Webtrends Optimize team enabled us to increase the number of online bookings by 7.09% in three months,” Arnese continues. “This increase had a significant impact on our results, allowing us to stay ahead of our competitors, offering our customers the best service possible.”

“We are proud to be working with Alitalia,” states Tracie Caroopen, Director Southern EMEA, Webtrends. “Major brands , such as Alitalia, increasingly understand the importance of a strong online presence and an efficient e-commerce operation to maximise revenue. In order to achieve this, brands need to understand what makes their customers buy and this is where multivariate testing, targeting and optimisation are proving invaluable. Webtrends Optimize enables brands to run tests in a live environment before the changes are applied – brands can then achieve the most optimised version of their site without gambling on what will work.”


A long-standing, successful cooperation.

Alitalia has been working with Webtrends since 2009, when they adopted Webtrends Analytics platform to measure performance on all their digital channels. Webtrends Analytics provides insight on visitor and customer behaviour and habits – a key element in a strong competitive area such as airlines, where potential customers are virtually flooded by a huge number of offerings.

Over the years, Alitalia has been able to better understand the needs and preferences of their customers, through accurate profiling and improved visibility. Optimize tells them how many visitors completed the purchase process against those that abandoned the sale, enabling Alitalia to optimise their booking pages dynamically and continually improve their online conversion rates.

Another key element to Alitalia is the internal data and report sharing. Alitalia has created a dashboard for every market the company is present in, sharing number of visits, number of customers, traffic origin (paid search, organic search, social media, etc.) and customer behaviour when booking and checking-in.

“It’s of upmost importance that all our executives have access to these numbers and understand their real value. To Alitalia, a conversion in the purchase process of 0.5% means 25 million euros,” concludes Arnese.