Half of travellers can’t remember which online travel agency they used to book their last trip
According to new independent research commissioned by technology company Travelport, nearly half of travellers can’t remember which online travel agency (OTA) they used to book their last leisure trip.
The aim of the Modern Retail Study is to better understand the current online travel retailing landscape and identify gaps in travellers’ shopping experiences. The results revealed important factors that contribute to brand recall for OTAs, such as the experience of booking.
Lesson #1: Good service is memorable
Of all travellers surveyed who could actually recall the last OTA they booked with, the vast majority (78%) ranked the experience as ‘above average’ or ‘excellent.’ And while most US travellers do not have a preferred OTA (55%), many travellers in Saudi Arabia (63%) and Japan (70%) say they do have a favourite travel site. Clearly, good service is memorable and being remembered increases your chances of winning repeat bookings.
Lesson #2: Increase and personalise your inventory
Travellers in Saudi Arabia (60%) and the US (60%) were shown to be the most forgetful of specific OTA brands they’ve used. Of those travellers who have a preferred OTA, factors such as ‘a wider range of options’ have fuelled loyalty in Saudi Arabia (54%), the US (51%) and Japan (38%). OTAs are also winning over travellers in Japan with personalised experiences (45%) as well as the ability to ‘easily navigate the site’ in Saudi Arabia (42%) and in the US (40%).
Lesson #3: Price isn't the bottom line
Historically, OTAs have been trying to compete on price but the study showed that isn’t what customers need to remember the experience. OTAs may be less distinguishable because they have been focusing on the wrong things. The travellers polled said the ability to ‘book everything at once’ is one of the most important reasons for using an OTA. The survey showed that travellers are using OTAs more for research and comparison, and that there are missed opportunities for bookings. The majority of travellers using OTAs do not follow through with booking car hire (67%) or air travel (55%), and more than one-third (36%) do not book the hotel accommodation they were researching either.
Commenting on the findings, Travelport Chief Marketing Officer Jen Catto said: “As one of the first sectors to go digital many years ago, the travel industry has a strong history of innovation. However, travellers’ digital expectations have rapidly evolved, far surpassing current travel retailing capabilities.
"Prioritising the needs of our customers to better serve their customers is our priority. Agencies need more choice, clear comparison shopping, and easy ways to manage experiences like exchanges. While price is important, these value-add factors create an ‘excellent’ modern retailing experience that stands out and earns loyalty.”
For more information, visit www.travelport.com/theme/modern-retailing