I am a big fan of Google Chrome – the alternative browser launched by Google in September 2008. In its short history, Chrome has generated quite a following. I was therefore quite surprised to find the booking engine for EasyJet flights (the UK’s most popular airline website) will not work when I access it via my Chrome browser – either on PC or Mac.

EasyJet booking engine does not work with Chrome

That’s quite an omission on EasyJet’s part and I began to wonder how much that oversight/mistake is costing them…? Here’s my calculation…

1. Browser share for Google Chrome

Sampling the Google Analytics reports of my clients, I found the average browser share for Chrome to be 11.61%.

The sample size was 2.5 million visitors during September 2010 from four UK focused B2B and B2C websites. This equates to 300,000 people using Chrome during that period. Of course that is just my small client sample that I have access to. However, it does compare well to other browser share reports (11.9%, 19%, 7.17%, 14.1% = average 13.04%).

2. How many would book with EasyJet using Google Chrome?

According to Google Adplanner, the EasyJet.com website received approximately 1.8 million unique visitors from the UK for September 2010. That means 208,980 visitors using Google Chrome (i.e. using my 11.61% UK average).

A typical conversion rate for the travel industry is 2%. That is 2% of all visitors go on to book their holiday/flight. Therefore the number of failed EasyJet bookings for visitors using Chrome = 4,180 compared to 36,000 successful bookings.

The problem I feel is that this failure rate equates to just over 10% (10.4% to be exact). This is probably something the EasyJet senior management consider as acceptable – considering all the other operational variables that need to be kept under control on a day-to-day basis (weather, exploding volcano’s, fuel price hedging, seasonal fluctuations, exchange rate calculations, fast moving competition etc).

However to me, a 10% booking failure rate is unacceptable. Especially considering that such browser compatibility issues are relatively easy to fix (I used to be a web developer!).

3. How much does failure cost?

Monetising this puts failure into perspective. According to flightline.co.uk, EasyJet’s revenue per seat is £47.50. I have therefore assumed each failed booking would be for a return flight. Rounding this up to £100 per booking gives:

money down the drainCost of EasyJet failed bookings = £418,000 for September 2010.

*Thats a staggering £13,933 LOSS per day!

To my knowledge the problem has existed for a least 2 weeks…

*A caveat to consider is that people who install the Chrome web browser are very likely to have other browsers on their machine as well. So their is a strong chance that a visitor will simply open another browser type and book anyhow – I do. That’s great for EasyJet while their brand is so strong that people will still try to book no matter what the difficulty, but that will not always be the case…

Also, consider I have used my UK average for Chrome users. Almost half of all EasyJet bookings are from outside of the UK, so maybe the average Chrome market share should be 13.04% (a loss of £15,648 per day!)

Key Take Away

When communicating with senior management, metrics without a value are meaningless. Therefore monetise your website at all stages and levels. I am pretty sure if a senior manager was aware of that loss, the fix would be requested as a priority!