Upside Travel moves fast without breaking things

Growth and Product Development Teams Eliminate Guesswork with Experimentation

Upside is the first online travel service built just for business travelers, particularly travelers from small and mid-sized companies that can’t access special pricing or quality customer service.

As Upside has grown, they’ve adopted a testing-centric culture across every team that touches the customer experience. Product managers, marketers, data scientists and engineers all participate in designing and running experiments with Optimizely Full Stack and Web. The growth team works with every team in the company to incorporate a testing mindset into every step on the customer journey.

The entire company embraces the “Move Fast and Break Things” culture pioneered by tech giants like Facebook, and they ensure a stable and successful user experience by backing every decision with data. With Optimizely, Upside can ship code quickly at high quality, while also avoiding any adverse effects on conversion or key metrics.

1.2%

Percentage point increase in conversion rate from improving search results relevance

100%

Portion of major features and engineering work deployed as experiments

100%

Increase in experiments per month run with Full Stack compared to previous solution

Products Used

Optimizely X Full Stack

Enable everyone in your organization to improve every experience.

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Optimizely X Web

Enable everyone in your organization to improve every experience.

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We want to rapidly prune out the ideas that will lower conversion. If we put something out in production that doesn’t seem to be working, we want to get rid of it quickly.
Emily Dresner
Emily Dresner

CTO

Feature Rollouts Remove Wasted Effort from Product Development

Every big change Upside's team makes to the customer experience is rolled out with Optimizely. Before releasing to every user, the team rolls out the feature to a small portion of site traffic to ensure that features are bug-free and stable. As a result, they’re able to ship minimum viable features and quickly eliminate underperforming experiences--copy, messaging, landing pages, or even entire flows--without investing further.

Algorithms Drive a More Relevant Search Experience

Showing business travelers the right flight options is one of Upside’s primary levers to increase trip purchases, and the team’s data scientists are constantly seeking new ways to surface trip options that better match each individual traveler’s preferences.

In one experiment, the data science team hypothesized that changing the sort order of flight inventory based on a traveler’s historical purchases would increase purchases. They constructed a machine learning-based decision framework and trained it on a window of historical data, then tested this new algorithm against a generic sort order with Full Stack's server-side testing capabilities. They saw a 1.2 percentage point increase in conversions, with negligible effects on other key KPIs, and were able to implement the new algorithm and continue iterating with confidence.

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Experiments De-Risk Checkout Redesign

The Upside team is constantly testing new ways to increase conversion and decrease drop-off in the checkout funnel--and provide an overall better experience to travelers. Recently, the team redesigned the checkout funnel to reduce friction for customers. By first testing the redesign with Full Stack, they determined that new flow did not impact conversion rate. They rolled out the new design knowing that a qualitatively better experience was also good for business, and avoided the risk of hurting key metrics by launching blindly.

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Upside Empowers Every Team to Iterate Quickly on Customer Experience

At Upside, every team is empowered to constantly iterate and experiment on the customer experience. The growth team focuses on optimizing the entire customer experience, running fast and lightweight experiments to validate ideas prior to investing in feature development. The engineering team tests big features with Optimizely until certain customers are pleased with the effects. The end result is that they are able to quickly develop new features and experiences that drive the business forward, knowing that they are spending time and resources efficiently.

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