A study of experienced Spanish online travel shoppers has found that customers are as likely to use a site they have already booked with as opposed to the cheapest.
Xperience Consulting in Spain asked 200 people who used the web for travel to search for flights from Spain to Tenerife and a week’s accommodation. More than four in ten went directly to the address of their preferred OTA; 27% used general search with 30% combining both methods. Google was the chosen search engine for 90%.
Spaniards appear to be both price-led and loyal – the most important factors when choosing which site to book on are price and having previously booked through the site. In a multiple answr question, both were factors for 60% of the sample.
While 16% will book through a site they have picked up via Google natural search, the number of people who booked after clicking on an online ad was 0%.
Usability tests were also carried out to compare five OTAs and five hotel-specific sites. Using the Net Promoter Score method, it found that rumbo.es came out top with +30%, with lastminute the least recommendable.
For hotel direct bookings, barcelo.com was the only one of five sites which returned a positive score with +27%. Big hotel chains Hesperia, Sol Melia and NH Hotels ended up with -20%, -30% and -60%.
Wikipedia says that Net Promoter Scores have been around since 2003, and that proponents of the loyalty metric see a correlation between a high score and profitability. However, critics argue that “likelihood to recommend” is not only too vague but also influenced by external and environmental factors.