Poor user experience hitting booking rates

A US report has indicated a decline in the number of online consumers who research and eventually buy travel products via the internet – primarily due to inferior usability and experience of websites.

The Forrester study published this week showed the number of online travel “bookers” had declined from 59% in 2005 to a current level of 55%.

The number of online US consumers who take leisure trips has also dropped from 80% in 2005 to 72% in 2007, Forrester said.

Henry Harteveldt, vice president and principle analyst at Forrester, said consumer spending in the US on online products has continued to increase as bookings have “distilled into premium audience” who travel more and purchase more expensive products.

The Forrester report suggested one of the main reasons consumer booking numbers are declining is due to poor user experience with travel websites.

Harteveldt said: “There’s a brutally unpleasant reason why fewer online travellers use the Web as part of their travel planning and buying activities: The experience isn’t all that great.

“As a result, mainstream travellers are reducing – and, for some, abandoning entirely – their reliance on the Web as a travel planning and buying channel.”

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