Travel companies must focus on online customer experience


Research released by Tealeaf into the competitive online travel market reveals the fickle nature of ebookers, with 9 out of 10 consumers booking their holiday with a different provider each time. And with customer experience only beaten by price when consumers were asked about their priorities for a travel website, the message to brands is clear; overlook any aspect of the online customer experience at your peril, or risk visitors fleeing to competitor websites.

The Tealeaf research, entitled “The ebooker: understanding how travel customers use the web”, drills into a range of insights gained from over 2,000 British consumers, 37% of whom now conduct their holiday research wholly via the web, with a quarter making the final booking online too. When it comes to what cultivates a positive experience, price is unsurprisingly number one (64%), but ease of navigation (44%) and an absence of errors or problems on the site also scored highly (22%).

“Holidaymakers want one of two things – an escape or a new experience,” says Internet Psychologist, Graham Jones. “Online, the website must match those desires if it is truly to connect. But it must do more than that. Travel websites also need to build trust and confidence – which are powerful motivators for ebookers. A site which lets you down or performs badly is naturally going to impact your confidence in the brand’s ability to deliver a perfect holiday.”
Consumers take their time with important purchases.2011-01-17
Almost a third of those polled claimed that booking a holiday was the most important purchase of the year. Travel purchases are unique in the amount and complexity of browsing and research involved. According to Tealeaf’s research, British ebookers visit an average of four different travel sites during their search, starting the process two to four months in advance. Even once they’ve established which holiday they want, ebookers revisit the website three to four more times before completing the transaction to double check details and build confidence in their choice.
“Anecdotally, customers struggling to book online is a scenario familiar to everyone, but our report confirms just how important the customer experience is to ebookers using the internet to research and purchase their holidays,” said Geoff Galat, VP of Worldwide Marketing at Tealeaf. “With the competition only a click away online, getting it right can have a major revenue impact. Increasing visibility into the experience and behaviour of every website visitor and learning from these insights is absolutely critical to the delivery of an experience that gives ebookers confidence to book one of their most important purchases of the year.”