How Wego, MENA's largest online travel marketplace, achieves 8X conversion & 27% uplift in app activation

8x Better Conversions
6.5x More Click Through Rates
6x Growth in Reachability

It is incredibly hard for an outsider to know and understand the various nuances of a diverse population. It can be equally hard to find a tool that lets you execute your marketing strategies without any restrictions. With WebEngage’s timely, relevant messages and strong call to actions, Wego made it incredibly easy for customers to follow through and complete bookings on their app.

WebEngage empowered Wego to:

  • Exhibit a deep understanding of its customer base
  • Align their marketing communication with customer’s needs in mind
  • Build campaigns with shorter execution and testing cycles
  • Speak to global customers in their native language
  • Ease third-party integrations to amplify user experience

About Wego

Wego provides award-winning travel search websites and top-ranked mobile apps for travelers living in the Asia Pacific and the Middle East regions. It harnesses powerful yet simple to use technology that automates the process of searching and comparing results from hundreds of airline, hotel, and online travel agency websites.

Wego presents an unbiased comparison of all travel products and prices offered in the marketplace by merchants (both local and global) and enables shoppers to quickly find the best deal and place to book, whether it is from an airline or hotel directly or with a third-party aggregator website.

Founded in 2005, Wego is headquartered in Dubai and Singapore with regional operations in Bangalore، Jakarta and Cairo.

Mobile-first market

Smartphone usage in several Arab states in the Gulf, particularly in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, is among the highest in the world. In March 2014, Wego had launched the world’s first Arabic language travel metasearch mobile apps.

With a relatively young population, educated, going digital – and mobile-first, today, a huge chunk of Wego’s search and booking activity from the Middle East happens on mobile only.

The Challenge

Catering to a global audience possessing diverse interests and background poses several challenges to the marketing team:

–> The Middle East and APAC are large and very diverse regions, comprising more than 30 countries with unique characteristics regarding culture, language, and religion. Engaging users in these areas needed a marketing strategy that encompasses:

  • Personal relationships that build trust
  • Native language use for relatability and;
  • Loyalty programs that offer the most competitive prices at all times.

–> Beneath this was a layer of user engagement – a challenge every marketer encounters, irrespective of their industry. Instead of adding to the noise and overwhelming the users, Wego’s marketing team had to:

  • Help users make sense of the options they have and;
  • Be there in their moment of need with a relevant message.

By 2018, Wego’s user base had exploded to over millions of users, across 50+ countries. At first, the team tried switching to a mobile marketing platform. But the result was not encouraging. The team ran multiple campaigns. At times duplicated campaigns in different languages to reach out to its multi-lingual user base. These methods were manual that took up a lot of time and bandwidth.

Wego realized its need for a scalable way to return to the basics of personalized communication. They partnered with WebEngage to achieve this goal. Through its personalization engine, WebEngage not only supported Wego with their problem in hand but, also provided advanced customized solutions, as mentioned below.

The Solution

WebEngage understands that travel is a complex and high-anxiety purchase. Unlike a pair of trousers, it’s hard for customers to return a two-way flight ticket.

The team works with hundreds of travel companies, OTAs, some of them being Asia’s top businesses like Goibibo, Yatra, MakeMyTrip, and Rehlat. This experience puts WebEngage in a unique position to identify and solve Wego’s marketing challenges.

While most marketers usually aim to improve their conversions, WebEngage empowers Wego to resist the temptation to blindly jump into a sale and focus on personalized communication.

Solution #1: Speak the native language

What proved to be a daunting task earlier was simplified by WebEngage’s personalization engine:

  1. A user signs up on Wego app
  2. WebEngage creates his/her profile on the dashboard
  3. Along with the basic info, WebEngage assigns additional details such as the email ID, country, time-zone, currency, etc., to their user profile. These additional identifiers are collectively known as user-attributes and are set for “anonymous” profiles as well.

Wego utilizes WebEngage’s user attributes and identifies users’ language preference to send messages in their native language, increasing engagement and likelihood to convert.

Multi-lingual support has become a crucial part of Wego’s marketing campaigns. The team no longer employs manual methods of duplicating each campaign to the user’s native language.

Solution #2: Engage users in their local timezone

The time at which users receive notifications is critical to the success rate of the campaigns. But Wego has users across time zones, all over the world. The delivery time has to be different for each timezone. Wego utilizes WebEngage’s personalization features to address this issue:

#2.1. Send messages in the user’s timezone:

The time-zone attribute stores user’s timezone data in their profile. While creating a campaign, the marketer selects the ‘Later’ option and enters the preferred delivery time for the campaign. This alternative allows Wego to schedule notifications based on the specific timezone of each user.

For example, if they schedule a delivery for 5:50 PM, each user will receive it at 5:50 PM in their timezone.

Moreover, Wego exercises the option to defer message delivery to those users where the local time has already passed the specified delivery time.

#2.2. Display local time in outgoing messages:

Using this feature, Wego localizes the date and time displayed in their outgoing messages.

For instance, say they want to send a flight reminder, and the flight has a departure_time timestamp. The marketer chooses this option, and the departure time in all outgoing messages gets converted to the user’s local timezone.

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Shown below is a code snippet that converts flight departure date to user’s local date.

{{journey['state-19'].custom['leg1_depart_date'] | we_date('tz', user['system']['tz_name'])| we_date('DD MMM YYYY')|urlencode}}

Ever since Wego integrated with WebEngage, its

  • Reachability has grown by 6X
  • Click-rates have increased drastically, almost double of what they began with.

Find Out How Localization Can Fuel Your Business

Solution #3: Onboard users effectively

By understanding how users move through key funnels, such as the first-time app install to sign-up, Wego created an onboarding journey that encourages users to take appropriate actions on the app.

The onboarding journey:

Wego adopts a benefits approach for user onboarding. Instead of telling people how the app works,  Wego helps them understand why they need to use it. The emphasis on value motivates users to follow through with the signup process easily.

Contextual push and in-app messages are pitched to users that match their initial interactions with the brand; such as their interest in flights or hotels.

By effective onboarding and utilizing dynamic features, users are guided to specific screens within the app, like the specific sign-up page instead of the home screen.

As users sign_up and continue to perform actions on the app, e.g.,
session_started – start a new session
push_clicked – engage with notifications
flight_searched – search for flights
hotel_view – lookup for hotels, etc., WebEngage continuously updates their information in the User Profile.

Solution #4: Encourage users to activate

The next big goal is to increase activation—in other words, increasing the number of people who download the app and initiate their first purchase.

Pairing user activity data with the right product features, Wego created various journeys that went beyond merely prompting users to complete their first purchase. We’ve elaborated on some of the product features, used in these journeys, below:

#4.1. Dynamic push notifications:

WebEngage’s dynamic personalization tokens make it incredibly simple for users to follow through and book a flight. Furthermore, the team uses rich push notifications to layer on a strong call-to-action to these messages. If users feel inspired enough to bite the bullet and book their vacation, all they have to do is click on the notification, which takes them straight to the booking page.

#4.2. Journeys with exit triggers:

Wego users perform multiple searches on the app. To send contextual messages, user information has to be updated real-time. Note that in this case, the same event gets repeated several times. The concept itself isn’t difficult to understand, but there are several challenges marketers face as they start to build contextual strategies.    

For example, say a user searches a flight on the app and enters a flight reminder journey. If he performs another flight search within the next few minutes, any consequent message should be related to his latest query. However, the challenge is in making sure that all the real-time event details captured on WebEngage dashboard reflect in the journeys as well.

To solve for this, the marketer simply adds the same entry and exit triggers to their journeys.

In the sample journey shown above, the user searches for a hotel (event name – hotel_search) and enters the journey. If the user performs the event again, he is removed from the journey (exit trigger – hotel_search) and made to enter again, with new event attributes that point to his latest search. The following messages automatically are in sync with the user’s most recent actions.

A journey can have multiple exit triggers, and they can be different from the conversion event. It gives the marketer more control over their outgoing messages.

As a result, the journey campaigns witnessed a 6.5X better click rate and 8X better conversion rate as compared to stand-alone campaigns.

#4.3. Segmentation by user personas:

With WebEngage cohorts and behavioral data, Wego analyzes different segments of users to understand how and why conversion time varies for each of them. Each user is then grouped into various segments. For example, Wego identifies users as Business and Luxury Customers and builds targeted engagement campaigns for both.

This targeted strategy was a great success. Wego significantly improved their book look-to-book ratio. Read more on how travel companies segment users to boost their KPIs.

Solution #5: Smoothen third-party integrations

Today, third-party integrations have become an essential ingredient to attract and retain customers. This is because users prefer apps that smoothly work with what they already use.

In May 2018, Wego announced its partnership with Huawei, a Chinese based telecommunications and electronics company. This partnership further strengthened Wego’s foothold in MENA. Today, most Huawei devices come with a pre-installed Wego app, thus simplifying the travel shopping experience for Huawei users.

WebEngage’s SDK was flexible to keep up with Wego’s evolving tech. This ability has helped Wego leverage their marketing campaigns for all Huawei users. As Huawei users shopped on the app, their online and offline experience was not compromised, irrespective of the platform.

The Result

With WebEngage, Wego got a complete understanding of how users moved through key funnels. 

The team did not focus on going viral but concentrated on building more effective user journeys. The visual push campaigns, amongst others, were developed not to blast messages to people but give undecided travelers, who were already considering booking a trip, enough of a push to complete their booking.

Since integrating with WebEngage, Wego has witnessed a tremendous hike in its look-to-book ratio and facilitated bookings.

The targeted approach got 6.5x better CTRs than stand-alone campaigns. Similar to engagement rates, conversion rates from journeys were 8x better than conversion rates achieved from stand-alone campaigns.

To summarize:

  • Reachability increased by 6x
  • Executed multi-lingual campaigns
  • 6.5x better click rate from journeys than stand-alone campaigns
  • 8x better conversion rate from journeys than stand-alone campaigns
  • Improved the (look-to-book) ratio
  • Increased cross-sell by 2x
iImage source: giphy.com

Want To Drive Such Impact To Your Brand?

Why WebEngage?

The main reason for choosing WebEngage was the implementation of one-click multi-lingual campaigns. The team could run experiments, analyze and make necessary changes to the campaigns, with shorter testing and execution cycles. It was indeed a scalable way to return to the basics of personalized communication.


Shashank Singh

Shashank Singh CRM Manager, Wego

WebEngage allowed the team to not only improve engagement but also measure and correlate user behavior with campaign performance. Our team is continuously discovering better ways of engaging users. We have re-prioritized campaigns that were more effective in saving users time or fetching more conversions. We now have a much more definite sense of where our users are getting confused or dropping off, and we are constantly identifying new opportunities for improvement and growth.



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