Hurtigruten increases online sales from $3 million to $100 million

From 2008 to 2012, Hurtigruten increased sales from $3 million to $100 million. The growth was a result of several things and the online efforts played an important role. Here´s some insight into some of the focus activities.

In 2011, Hurtigruten improved the online user experience by introducing key functionality (booking box) on the home page. Since then, continuous improvements have been made and documented, such as the results of what happened when we move the functionality above the fold and how the improvements increased sales online.

Since launching the booking box, we have continued to increase online sales and improve the user experience. The blog post will review the impact to online sales of each improvement.

February Week 2, 2011

On February 15th, 2011 Hurtigruten launched key functionality on the home page. The booking box was implemented below the fold but the results were immediate as initiated bookings increased by more than 173%. Online bookings increased by 28%.

Increased initiated bookings

Initiated bookings

June Week 1, 2011

On June 1st, Hurtigruten moved the placement of the booking box to above the fold. The reason for this was that during usability tests that were ran in March, 2011 only 2 of the 10 testers found the booking box on the home page. The results were immediate as online bookings increased by 4%.

March Week 2, 2012

On March 5th, Hurtigruten implemented a new booking box after extensive research into 2011 sales data. The new booking box included both passenger selection and cabin requirments, thus giving the user a more exact price earlier in the booking process. The results were immediate and online bookings increased by 42%.

June Week 3, 2012

On June 18th, Hurtigruten launched a new version on the website in Norway. The improvements were based on the results of the usabiity tests in March 2011. With a new web design and improved booking box, online bookings increased by 15%.

Booking box design improvements since Feb 2011
[Left booking box on both above and below the fold]

Booking box

In September 2012, further improvements will be implemented as we introduce tours (currently live on the German site) and a five day calendar view on the search results. These improvements are in line with feedback from usability tests we have performed.

Mock-up of new booking box

New booking box

The current booking box is targeted towards Hurtigruten’s Norwegian market.  However, during the last 12 months, more than half of the total web traffic has been from countries outside of Norway. Most international customers do not know where Kirkenes or Bergen is, and most travellers do not know their specific travel date. This information is critical in the decision making process. Thefore, an international booking box will be created for non-Nordic web visitors. We expect this improvement to increase conversion rate.

Prototype of International booking box


Gerry McGovern once said „I can’t think of a successful website I’ve dealt with hasn’t had a continuous improvement management model“. In 16 months, Hurtigruten have continued to improve key functionality and online sales have increased tenfold. We will continue with our improvements.

All the sales information in this blog post have been presented in publicly available reports.

Do you have any success stories on continuous improvement? Do you have any suggestions on how we can improve the booking box further? Suggestions are welcome in the comments box below.

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