How Wego Optimized its Conversion Funnel with Personalized Messaging

By: Kahuna | January 26, 2016 | Growth Marketing
Personalized messaging helps drive the conversion funnel

Wego, the premier destination for finding travel deals, wanted a marketing strategy that would help nudge users through its conversion funnel. At the same time, Wego knew that travel is a brutally competitive space and the old batch-and-blast approach to messaging could turn users off, potentially forever.

Wego needed a data-driven approach to its mobile messaging strategy. It required a platform that could easily track the individual activities of its millions of users in real time to better inform its conversion campaigns.

“We evaluated all the vendors and chose Kahuna because it was the only one that could handle our real-time data requirements,” said Wego’s Mark Reilly, VP of User Engagement and CRM.

Messaging to Drive the Conversion Funnel

Wego is a powerful portal for finding the best deals on flights and hotels. Customers search where they want to go and Wego searches hundreds of travel sites to find the best price. The primary monetization event for Wego is when a customer clicks through on the “View Deal” button for flights or hotels and the user is then handed off to a Wego partner.

Wego data analysis suggests its users typically want to book within a month and a half of their search. And during peak travel periods, the booking window is significantly less. Once a user has searched for a trip, the race is on to get the user to convert. As Mark told us, there’s a delicate balance in messaging users in this state: you know they have intent but you don’t want to turn them off by being too pushy. This is especially true with Wego app users because push notifications are a more intimate experience than email communications for example.

Wego created campaigns with the goal of getting users to click on the “View Deal” button. Mark knew these campaigns will have a much better chance of getting conversions if they were relevant to individual users and personalized based on their activities.

The following campaign was aimed at app users who had done a flight search but hadn’t clicked on the “View Deal” button. Because time is a critical factor, Wego needed its mobile marketing platform to track these actions in real time.

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To personalize the campaigns for each user, Wego leveraged the Kahuna platform to automatically insert the last location the user searched for. This level of personalization, based on the user’s intent, makes the message much more compelling.

Kahuna RevIQ Optimal Message Distribution ensured that the highest-performing message went out to the largest amount of Wego users. One reason Message A performed best is that it incentivized the user with the promise of a sale. Another possible reason for its success is that it’s short and to-the-point.

In a market as competitive as the travel search business, standing out from the crowd with personalized messaging at scale is extremely important. Overall, this campaign led to a 28.54% conversion rate with a 13.8% uplift in goal achievement for flight searches, which can then lead to monetization events.


Using Personalized Messaging to Drive Cross-Sells

It makes intuitive sense for Wego to offer a hotel to people who search for flights. But it’s not as simple as just sending hotel offers based on the destination. This approach might show positive results in the aggregate but Wego knows it has the potential to turn off high-value users. Thanks to Kahuna’s multi-goal tracking, Wego was able to design a campaign to navigate the delicate balance of getting users through a cross-sell funnel.

Mark designed the following campaign for users who have searched for a flight but hadn’t searched for hotels. The main goal was to get users to search for hotels but Wego also wanted to track additional information.

Cross-sell campaigns from Wego


All of the messages carried a deep level of personalization by including information like the location name, the departure date and/or the person’s name. This included a whopping 218.06% and 215.89% goal uplift over the control group, who didn’t receive a message. This is clearly a win because these messages spurred users to search for hotels.

Kahuna enabled Mark to track multiple goals on a campaign, and in this instance, Wego also tracked how many of these users clicked on “View Deal” for flight searches or hotel searches. This is vital to Wego’s business because clicking on “View Deal” is the primary monetization event.

Tracking goals from Wego

Message A was the consistent winner in getting hotel searches, as well as monetization events for flights and hotels. This could be because it offers a great deal while including the individual’s destination of choice. Interestingly enough, Message C didn’t perform as well as the others when it came to clicking on “View Deal” for flights. This was the only message that didn’t explicitly mention the keywords “trip” or “flight” and that could have factored into this result. Mark says he gets valuable insights into user behavior from having this additional data.

Ultimately, the ideal customer journey can be clarified by having enough data, Mark said. Kahuna’s multi-goal tracking gave Mark more data about the actions of users who received personalized messages. Combining this data with Wego’s own business analytics gave a more holistic picture of the customer journey.

This creates a virtuous cycle because it gives Mark better data to create future mobile marketing campaigns to further optimize the conversion funnel,  and ultimately the user experience on Wego.