Orbitz helps Orbitz create a more engaging mobile travel experience




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The backstory

The Orbitz app has been a leader in the travel industry since its launch in 2010. It was the first to allow users to book hotels, flights, and rental cars from within the app. It was also the first travel app optimized for a tablet experience in 2013, as well as the first to offer Android and iPhone users the ability to book vacation packages in 2015.

“Searching and booking is the core functionality of any travel app,” says Paul Rattin, Director, Mobile Marketing for Orbitz & CheapTickets at Expedia, Inc. “To stand out in the market, we have to create new and compelling reasons for customers to engage with our app.”

App Annie provides the Orbitz team with the necessary data to ensure the app continues to rank as an industry leader in mobile growth and insights.

Improving travel with the help of an app

The way to capture more customers in the mobile space, Rattin says, is to continually offer new ways for travelers to interact with the app.

“Online travel agency apps are mainly used for searching and booking a trip, but trip research, planning, and the in-trip experience are key stages of a traveler’s journey. Going from end to end in a trip experience is challenging for any travel agency,” he says. For example, because travelers continue to use their mobile devices while on vacation, the app creates a compelling opportunity to interact with customers outside of the search & booking process.

“Say you’re in Cancun at a hotel you booked through our app — now with our app, we can recommend a scuba package at the dive center around the corner,” Rattin explains. That overlap drives revenue for Orbitz and at the same time creates more meaningful vacation experiences for customers. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Analyzing the competition to stay ahead of the pack

Understanding where Orbitz ranked competitively was a main reason the team signed up for App Annie Intelligence. With data from Store and Usage Intelligence, they could get a clear picture of their competitors’ active user numbers, and compare it with their own numbers.

“By using App Annie data, we saw competitors were driving large spikes in download volumes, but there was not a corresponding increase in the number of users engaging with their apps,” Rattin says. Even with lower download numbers, the Orbitz app was beating competitors in the most important metric of app users: engagement. Understanding the download to active user trends was a powerful insight used to craft efficient app acquisition strategies for Orbitz.

Attracting and maintaining more valuable users

These insights are not just good for competitive research; it also helps the Orbitz team identify if competitors’ usage increases in correlation with the addition of new features, and helps them see what could be expanded.

With App Annie Intelligence, the team can study how competitors’ downloads and active user estimates change as they release new features and track how trends in reviews and ratings change with each new app release.

“Our strategy is to create a more engaging and personalized app experience — we want customers to have the best user experience in our app,” Rattin says.

Deeply integrating the company’s loyalty program, Orbitz Rewards, into the app experience was one way to do that. Through this program, app users earn a higher loyalty incentive when booking through the Orbitz app. It’s a simple way to reward their best users while at the same time encouraging more app usage. It’s another win-win for everyone.

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