Latest research from Expedia Partner Solutions (EPS) has found that travel providers are falling short of travellers’ expectations and failing to deliver on their top priorities.
The findings of a survey of 25,000 respondents from 35 countries are included in Expedia’s ‘Global traveller expectations: how to deliver on what travellers really want’ report.
EPS cites competitive pricing, including offers and promotions; responsive, ‘always on’ customer service, and ease of website navigation as being ‘highly important’ in having a positive booking experience.
However, those surveyed felt that travel providers are not always meeting their needs. In some cases, travel providers are over-delivering on what are considered to be more unimportant features such as the quantity of accommodation offered.
“Our research report highlights a disconnect between what travellers most value in a travel provider and what these businesses are delivering,” said Isabelle Pinson, vice president of marketing, EPS brand.
“It is crucial that travel providers really understand what drives traveller choices and behaviours because those providers that fine-tune their offering to really match their travellers’ needs are sure to gain a competitive edge and build loyalty.”
The survey found 26% of travellers wished travel providers would make customer service the priority, second only to more competitive offers and promotions (28%).
Another result was that quality and relevancy of accommodation content is a deal breaker for frequent travellers.
Customers also relayed the content accompanying listings, namely, the images and descriptions, are just as important.
Developing markets noted that website experience overall is of primary importance.
35% of respondents in Africa gave ease of website navigation ‘10 out of 10’ for importance in having a positive booking experience. For the Middle East, this was 30% and for APAC 27%, making it the second highest factor for these three regions.
However, only 24% of respondents globally said their travel providers were doing an ‘excellent’ job in creating travel sites which are easy to navigate.
The research report also noted that North American and European ranked highly value competitive pricing as a priority, with more than a quarter of Europeans (26%) and nearly a third (32%) of North Americans ranking it as the most important element of a positive booking experience.
Surprisingly, not all countries put competitive pricing first for importance. For Latin America, Africa and Asia Pacific, competitive pricing is not in the top three rankings.
“While this report highlights that there are some universal expectations among global travellers that providers need to be aware of, importantly, there are also key differences in priorities, depending on which region travellers are from, how often they travel and the purpose of their trip,” Pinson added.
“Therefore, it’s crucial that travel providers understand the needs of their specific audience to deliver on traveller expectations.”