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Real-World Analytics: How much money does EasyJet lose…?

November 17, 2010 / Categories: Metrics understanding / Comments: 8

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I am a big fan of Google Chrome – the alternative browser launched by Google in September 2008. In its short history, Chrome has generated quite a following. I was therefore quite surprised to find the booking engine for EasyJet flights (the UK’s most popular airline website) will not work when I access it via my Chrome browser – either on PC or Mac.

EasyJet booking engine does not work with Chrome

That’s quite an omission on EasyJet’s part and I began to wonder how much that oversight/mistake is costing them…? Here’s my calculation…

1. Browser share for Google Chrome

Sampling the Google Analytics reports of my clients, I found the average browser share for Chrome to be 11.61%.

The sample size was 2.5 million visitors during September 2010 from four UK focused B2B and B2C websites. This equates to 300,000 people using Chrome during that period. Of course that is just my small client sample that I have access to. However, it does compare well to other browser share reports (11.9%, 19%, 7.17%, 14.1% = average 13.04%).

2. How many would book with EasyJet using Google Chrome?

According to Google Adplanner, the EasyJet.com website received approximately 1.8 million unique visitors from the UK for September 2010. That means 208,980 visitors using Google Chrome (i.e. using my 11.61% UK average).

A typical conversion rate for the travel industry is 2%. That is 2% of all visitors go on to book their holiday/flight. Therefore the number of failed EasyJet bookings for visitors using Chrome = 4,180 compared to 36,000 successful bookings.

The problem I feel is that this failure rate equates to just over 10% (10.4% to be exact). This is probably something the EasyJet senior management consider as acceptable – considering all the other operational variables that need to be kept under control on a day-to-day basis (weather, exploding volcano’s, fuel price hedging, seasonal fluctuations, exchange rate calculations, fast moving competition etc).

However to me, a 10% booking failure rate is unacceptable. Especially considering that such browser compatibility issues are relatively easy to fix (I used to be a web developer!).

3. How much does failure cost?

Monetising this puts failure into perspective. According to flightline.co.uk, EasyJet’s revenue per seat is £47.50. I have therefore assumed each failed booking would be for a return flight. Rounding this up to £100 per booking gives:

money down the drainCost of EasyJet failed bookings = £418,000 for September 2010.

*Thats a staggering £13,933 LOSS per day!

To my knowledge the problem has existed for a least 2 weeks…

*A caveat to consider is that people who install the Chrome web browser are very likely to have other browsers on their machine as well. So their is a strong chance that a visitor will simply open another browser type and book anyhow – I do. That’s great for EasyJet while their brand is so strong that people will still try to book no matter what the difficulty, but that will not always be the case…

Also, consider I have used my UK average for Chrome users. Almost half of all EasyJet bookings are from outside of the UK, so maybe the average Chrome market share should be 13.04% (a loss of £15,648 per day!)

Key Take Away

When communicating with senior management, metrics without a value are meaningless. Therefore monetise your website at all stages and levels. I am pretty sure if a senior manager was aware of that loss, the fix would be requested as a priority!


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Comments

  1. Val: Follow the links in the report. I cite 4 independent sources (11.9%, 19%, 7.17%, 14.1%) to give an average of 13.04%.

    The average I use for this calculation though is taken from four UK focused B2B and B2C websites that I have access to their reports, average = 11.61%

  2. Val Lyashov says:

    I would think that the demographic that reads this blog have a much higher chance of using Chrome, in comparison to visitors to Easyjet. My guess the figure is 5% or below.

  3. Chris: You are certainly correct in my view. Very few people persist with a website if it does not work as intended for them. Its simply too easy to go to another website…

    BTW, where does Avinash come into this? He is a good friend of mine but I don’t see the connection to this post ;)

  4. Chris Faber says:

    Sure, lots of people will fire up another browser IF they work out that’s the problem. This may mean Avinash’s numeric value on the lost bookings will be overstated. However, the issue to me is why should it be necessary to change browser? The process of placing an order with a company via their website should be simple, safe and reliable for anyone using a browser with 10% market share.

    There is always a long term consequence for this kind of behaviour and even Avinash may struggle to calculate the cost.

  5. JSA says:

    I agree with Stijn. Actually, Easyjet is not the only place where some browsers work and others don’t.

    Since this is not so unusual, the average user simply tries with other browser.

  6. Stijn: see my caveat underneath the loss per day figure.

    Rob: I remember when it was the same with Firefox, circa 2005…! It would be great if the browser could auto-detect this and flag it, as like you I have wasted a lot of time with sites just going round in circles… Of course there will always be browser issues due to the law of diminishing returns i.e. you can’t worry about edge cases. But when the loss is £14,000 per day ($22,000 USD/day), the fix needs to be prioritised…

    As for my use of Chrome, its version 7.0.517.44 i.e. the latest for Mac (ditto for PC).

  7. Its amazing how many big companies don’t have websites that work with Chrome that has at least a 10% market share.

    What is the most frustrating is when the website doesn’t notify you that it doesn’t work with Chrome (or an alternative browser). I have been an a couple of smaller eCommerce sites and hassled for 10 minutes trying to buy something before trying another browser on a hunch and then was able to complete the purchase!

    That being said, I was able to get to the Checkout page on the easyjet.com website using Chrome (although I had no need to actually make the purchase). What version of Chrome are you using?

    Cheers,
    Rob

  8. stijn says:

    Do you realy think all of those 4180 will not try to use another browser when the booking on chrome fails?

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