Trust and price highlighted in UKFast debate

Trust is fast rivalling price as one of the main factors for consumers when they are purchasing travel online.

A roundtable debate hosted by UKFast, a UK-based internet hosting company, heard from Travelzoo UK managing director Joel Brandon-Bravo.

He said: “Customers have all seen airlines and tour operators suffer and in some cases fail during the recession so they want to know that the people they are booking from are going to deliver, they are going to get them home if it goes wrong and that the deal is everything it presents itself to be in the first place.”

Last year’s failure of XL Leisure Group was held up as an example of how customers are prepared to take risks with their money by buying from firms that do not offer protection as they seek out the best deal.

Fierce competition within the sector was also said to have resulted in consumers being misled with price-comparison basket prices often being substantially different to those initially advertised.

Lawrence Jones, managing director of UKFast, said: “The big difficulty travel businesses have on the internet is that there is too much choice and this is becoming a negative.

“As the comparisons at first glance may not actually be the correct prices, people are being suckered in to deals.”

Although customers looking for security were being driven to the big brands like Thomas Cook and Tui Travel, the need to drive value was seen as being as important as ever in 2010.

Brandon-Bravo added: “Everyone has become much more value driven. The consumer can now do everything from check the hotel’s own imagery to the imagery of people who have visited it recently and put together their own rich picture of exactly what it is they are buying.”

User-generated content was expected to increase in prevalence in 2010 as iPhone apps and social media sites encourage customers to look to their peers for recommendations.

Also on the panel were Richard Nash, business director of CSI Media, James Brooke, managing director of Rooster, and Brian Povey, tourism project manager of The Mersey Partnership.

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience. Learn more