Major survey identifies consumer woes with travel websites

A global study of more than 1,300 online travellers has identified a number of frustrations with travel websites, with one-third identifying the lack of response to email queries as a major irritation.


The study was carried out by Frommer’s Unlimited and eDigitalResearch in March and April this year. More than half the respondents came from the UK.


When asked about their bad experiences online, 52% said that major that travel sites were ‘confusing’, although the responses didn’t drill down into more detail about where the confusion lies. A similar percentage felt let down by a lack of images on travel sites.


One-third of users revealed that they had received no response to emailed questions, suggesting that customer service remains an issue for travel web sites.


Ignoring a pre-booking email could result in the sale being lost; ignoring an email after a booking has been made would do little to encourage repeat custom.


“Of the 523 suggestions made, some were recurring themes such as having a clearly displayed phone number and providing telephone customer support,” the survey said.


“Where that wasn’t available, providing email customer service and responding to email requests promptly ranked highly.”


Elsewhere, the survey looks at what content online users are interested in at the three stages of the booking process – planning, booking and after booking but before departure.


While images of the destination rate as “important or very important” at all three stages – 75%, 70% and 45% – video content is not highly sought after by users. It is the most important during the planning the stage, but only by one in four users.


Price remains by the far the most important factor for consumers when deciding where to go, with 85% of the sample rating it as important.


Specialist and niche operators, which compete on areas other than price, will be pleased to note that “Activities relating to my interest” is the next most crucial factor at 65%.



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