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Tips Is there such thing as good friction in a resort booking engine?

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photo of the author Gregg Blanchard

 Nov 2, 2021

This is an excerpt from our upcoming book, The Ultimate Guide to Growing Resort Ecommerce Revenue. Click here to download a preview→

There was a time when I only thought of friction in a marketing or booking funnel as something akin to weeds in a garden. Only by removing this thing could I help something else to grow.

While that may be true for conversion rate, it’s not always true for revenue.

Friction is a funny word. The first time I heard it in a marketing context was probably 15 years ago. I was addicted to Marketing Experiments’ monthly webinars and, one day, someone tossed in the word “friction” to describe those little, pesky things that make it harder for folks to make it from the start of a conversion funnel all the way through to the end.

Good or Bad?

Given that definition, it’s easy to see why we are often trained to think of it as a bad thing, because that definition would include things like:

  • Unnecessarily-long booking forms
  • Confusing language
  • Hidden or unhelpful errors
  • Navigation/search dead ends

But somewhere between here and there I realized that all friction is bad only if you view it only through the lens of conversion rate.

An Example
For example, at my first software marketing job we started to upsell a recurring support product on top of our main product. With this unnecessary bit of friction added to the process, total sales went down a little (conversion) but revenue went up.

Another Example
When I was running my own business during college I once increased prices on a product from $250 to $400. That higher price added too much friction for some folks to make it through the purchase process so the conversion rate went down. But, again, overall revenue went up.

Friction as an Ally

When you bring revenue into the equation, something really interesting happens. Instead of friction being a bad thing, you start to see ways it can be an ally in the quest for revenue. For example, you could add two more things to our collection of types of friction.

  • Extra steps in the booking funnel
  • Distracting design elements

On the surface those look just like those weeds in our ecommerce garden. But what if those extra steps get visitors to buy additional products that will help them have an incredible trip? Or what if that distracting design element directs their attention away from a cheap room toward one that’s slightly more expensive but a much better experience?

In both cases these things would be classified as friction, but in both cases you can see how they could lead to an increase in revenue per booking.

This is an excerpt from our upcoming book, The Ultimate Guide to Growing Resort Ecommerce Revenue. Click here to download a preview→

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