Company: Carnival Cruise Lines
Target audience: Travel agents
Key Web executive: Jordan Corredera, director-general manager, Carnival Online
No. of people working on the site: N/A
Last major redesign: March
No. of pages on the site: More than 1,000
Web developer: In-house
For a site that started out as a simple booking engine, GoCCL.com is making a big splash with its latest top-to-bottom redesign. The cruise line's biggest problem preredesign, said Jordan Corredera, director-general manage at Carnival Online, was discoverability. Everything—including content, tools and product information—was hidden behind a password-protected content wall. This meant new-to-the-company travel agents encountered “virtually unusable content and functionality,” said Walter Anasagasti, the company's e-channel manager. “People didn't realize all the tools we had on the site. We redesigned the home page so even an anonymous user could browse and get a good taste of the features, training resources and marketing materials the site has to offer.” At the same time, the site needed a branding update so it would be in line with the rest of the company's marketing materials.
The in-house design team created what is essentially a new site—new features were to be rolled out as they were created, which allowed for more fluid and ongoing site updates.
Along the way, changes were vetted by a select group of the company's “top eight to 12 travel agents”, who came into a testing lab and tried out the new links as well as went through the motions of using the booking engine, which was also revamped. Those agents then provided feedback on the design as well as some of the new features, including a scrolling Carnival News link and a link to BizBuilder, Carnival's marketing materials, which have been aggregated in one place. “The underlying ida was the desire to encourage and facilitate self-service so the agents could service a reservation, modify booking and find rates without having to reach out to us,” Corredera said. Today, GoCCL.com has a portal feel, with navigation that makes it simple to find booking tools, marketing materials and training resources. Time on site has improved by 21% since the site relaunched, and bounce rate is down by 16%. In addition, the use of the site's many features is up by 30%.
Expert commentary: “The online booking has been streamlined, and site functionality helps travel agents find exactly what they need to complete a sale. The extensive custom collateral creation helps end users upsell and become more competitive,” said Bill Rice, president, Web Marketing Association.