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Cook Travel Reports Website Success

December 2, 2009 By: George Dooley

Cook Travel, an American Express Travel Representative, has increased conversion rates on its web site by as much as 48 percent the company reports. Catering exclusively to international corporate and leisure travelers who fly in First and Business Class,  the 35-year-old New York-based company offers discounted insider fares. Cook Travel uses its Web site,, to generate both phone and online sales.
The Cook Travel Web site represents a unique opportunity to drive business from immediate and potential purchasers, the company said in a case study. A double call-to-action, phone and online form-fill, gives Cook American Express the ability to drive immediate purchasers to complete their transaction by phone and to fulfill on the second group’s need to shop around for the best price by driving them to click for a quote.
The solution, according to Cook is credibility, that is crucial in online travel. “The current site,, had weak credibility because of dated and hidden logos, out-of-date award seals and value propositions that appeared well below the fold. An overabundance of navigation buttons and calls-to-action complicated customer action. Plus, options for the last-minute traveler seemed to be missing altogether.” A third party, WiderFunnel created three redesigned pages to be tested against the original page:

    * Variation 1: “Credibility": Calls to action were reinforced and customer’s pain points were addressed as benefit statements in bullet points. Calls to action were placed on the right with the addition of prominent airline logos.
    * Variation 2: “Hero”: This variation depicted the business or high-end traveler as the ‘hero’ at the top of the left hand side section, with the calls to action placed right underneath the photos.
    * Variation 3: “Offer”: This variation was very similar to “Hero” but the placement of the photo and the calls to action were reversed, now to the right hand side. This emphasized the theme of “offer first”. The up-front headline focused on Planet Amex’s core benefit followed by a ‘Save up to 60%’ subhead and then the ‘Why Book With Us’ bullet points.

The results showed that Variation 1 won with a conversion rate lift of 48.41 percent for phone call conversions and an overall 17-percent conversion rate lift for Cook Travel. For more information about the study and conversion rate optimization, visit
“I was amazed to see the 48-percent increase in phone calls that WiderFunnel’s new landing pages produced. The analysis, recommendations and winning page are obviously better now that I see them, but we wouldn’t have come up with these ideas on our own. The phones are ringing off the hook and now I have to hire more phone reps!” said Blake Fleetwood of Cook, an American Express Travel Representative.

Founded in 1974, Cook-American Express Travel Representative specializes in international first and business class flights. The company has  offices in Manhattan, Southampton, East Hampton and Greenport.


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By George Dooley | December 2, 2009
Cook Travel, an American Express Travel Representative, has increased conversion rates on its web site by as much as 48 percent the company reports.
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