Expedia On How One Extra Data Field Can Cost $12 Million

So what was the problem?

Expedia analysts realised the site needed to be changed after investigating why many customers who clicked the ‘Buy Now’ button on the company’s site did not complete the transaction.

“This is someone who was on our site, found the right location and hotel, put in all their billing and travel information and clicked the ‘Buy Now’ button,” Megibow said.

“As far as leading indicators of purchase intent go, this is as good as it gets and yet we weren’t taking the money.”

Analysts began examining and correlating information about these failed transactions to identify what traits they had in common.

The answer, it turns out, was quite simple: “We had an optional field on the site under ‘Name’, which was ‘Company’,” Megibow said.

“It confused some customers who filled out the ‘Company’ field with their bank name.”

What did they try?

“After we realised that we just went onto the site and deleted that field – overnight there was a step function [change], resulting in $12m of profit a year, simply by deleting a field.

“We have found 50 or 60 of these kinds of things by using analytics and paying attention to the customer.”

I love data.