Driving a huge increase in car bookings

The Problem

Evidence from analytics had shown that users tend to make several visits to the Sixt website before completing their booking. The car listings page is one the greatest exit points in the booking funnel, indicating that visitors (in the booking funnel) were a mix of users at various stages of their booking journey.

Our Approach

To find out more the CRO team ran a poll using Hotjar on the car listings page to ask users: “Are you planning on making a booking today?” with three possible answers:

Yes, I m ready to book

Maybe, if I find the right offer

No, I m just researching options

The results showed that only 20% of respondents were “ready to book”. The vast majority were not yet committed with 57% saying “maybe” and 23% saying “no”. This indicated that 80% of users on the car listings page were in the research phase of their booking journey and therefore less likely to complete their booking.

The CRO team subsequently devised an experimentation strategy to encourage the 80% of users in the research phase to complete a booking. This was a stepped approach:

To begin with the team hypothesised that greater transparency around availability and pricing would influence these users. Availability is a key factor in Sixt’s pricing model, with the price typically rising as the number of available vehicles falls. Customers in the research phase could potentially see significant price rises the longer they wait to book. However, the listings page did not display any message to inform customers that this was the case.

Sixt wanted to be more transparent with their users about demand at their pick up stations and pricing. Previously, the in house team had tested an indicator showing the current availability at the users requested pick up location. The level of demand was represented by a traffic light status of red, amber or green accompanied by copy to indicate if demand was high, medium or low. However, the addition of this information plus other indicators of availability did not significantly impact bookings when it was AB tested against the control using Optimizely.


Tested a variation of the car listings page with a status bar added above the filters informing users of the Average Price Per Day, % of premium cars available and the current demand at the station.

The team knew from previous testing that adding a sense of urgency is very effective at increasing conversion. In a recent test for a retailer the CRO team had tried two variations of urgency messaging copy around items that were low in stock.

One message simply informed users that this was a “Fast Selling Item” and the other added a prompt to act with “Hurry, selling fast”. Both increased conversion but the simple “Fast Selling Item” copy performed best.

Users seemed to respond better to the informative message rather than the message instructing them to act. Armed with this knowledge and to persuade more of the “Maybes” and “Nos” to take action and complete their car booking with Sixt we devised a test to display a message solely focussed on the station demand status (availability) accompanied by copy explaining the implications of the status in terms of potential future price rises.

We created different sets of copy for the three different station demand statuses on the German site.


Incremental Bookings
Incremental Revenue
0 M
Once again, we saw that the informative copy outperformed the more instructional copy. It appears that users are more likely to respond to urgency messaging if you simply inform them of the situation. Adding an instruction to act is not as effective. In other words, users are smart enough to draw their own conclusions about how to proceed and perhaps slightly resistant to being told what to do!

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