Thomas Cook bookings soar thanks to Dell Quest app monitoring
Foglight application performance monitoring system leads to website response time improvements
By Matthew Finnegan | Computerworld UK | Published: 13:55, 08 February 2013
Thomas Cook has increased its bookings by 30 percent after installing an application monitoring systems from Dell Quest.
The travel agency chose Quest’s Foglight application performance monitoring (APM) software to improve the level of service for online customers, allowing it to increase transactions, reduce customer service calls, and track customers which had left mid-way through completion of bookings.
In addition to its physical high street presence, Thomas Cook, the world’s oldest travel company, runs an online travel agency, with its booking site thomascook.com, dealing with over one million hits per day. This rises to three million during peak season. The site is a vital part of its overall operations, accounting for up to 40 percent of UK business.
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However Thomas Cook said that its previous APM system was unable to quickly identify problems on the site, with a lack of awareness meaning that IT staff were not alerted to issues such as slow load times, consequently having a negative impact on sales.
“Previously, we would have learned of an issue at the end of the day, and it would have taken hours to identify the problem,” said Andy Dean, service delivery manager, UK and France, Thomas Cook Online.
“Error messages appeared on the log at the end of each day so they were not identified until the next day, which was too late.”
Following engagement with a number of suppliers, Thomas Cook decided on the Foglight APM system from Dell acquisition Quest.
The implementation of Foglight led to a number of improvements, with the APM system helping to identify and resolve performance issues before they affected customers.
“Foglight provides immediate alerts that enable us to fix problems before they affect the customers,” said Dean. “The time to find and resolve a problem has dropped by up to 97 percent, from 48 hours to between one and two hours.”
As a result of improved on-site performance, Thomas Cook was able to grow the number of online bookings by an estimated 30 percent. The site is now able to take up to 180 bookings an hour, worth approximately £272,000, based on average booking cost.
The company was also able to put in place an automated email system to regain business from customers which had dropped off the site during a booking. The Abandoned Bookers Programme run by Thomas Cook’s customer retention team has now generated approximately £121,000 since its inception three months ago.
In addition to enabling more bookings to be made, the Foglight implementation has also led to a reduction in the number of customer services calls. Following the improvements to the website’s usability the number of customer service calls from online customers has been cut in half.
“Previously, Thomas Cook’s online customers accounted for 35 percent of calls to customer services,” said Dean. “Our use of Foglight has more than halved the number of calls from online customers, to 15 percent.
"Most importantly, we have seen a rise in conversion rates, which we know is as a direct consequence of improvements to the performance of our website.”
Thomas Cook has been attempting to automate more of its services in a bid to reduce costs. The company announced in financial results last year that it had achieved operational savings of approximately £45 million thanks to IT systems put in place by supplier Navitaire, reducing manual processes across its business.
In March last year the company announced a multi-year contract for Anite to provide reservation services for through its website.