Travel Site Usability Nearly as Important as Price to Customers

By May 13, 2010

Travel site visitors most often balk at high product prices and fees, but a survey of online travel bookers by PhoCusWright shows that these potential travelers leave for many other reasons. This year's study, "Consumer Response

to Travel Site Performance" showed that this initial response was selected by 43 percent of respondents, but more than half indicated other reasons why they did not make it to checkout.

Second place was taken by three reasons with eleven percent of response: having to register with the travel Web site, insufficient inventory (what the customer wanted to purchase was unavailable), and the site was too slow or took too long. After these issues, nine percent believe that the Web site asked for too much information, and the same amount found the site frustrating or confusing to use. Two more problems at six percent were that the checkout process was too long or confusing, or that the customer was unwilling or unable to give credit card information online. Five percent said that the site crashed or had some technical error.

Different types of individuals react to these setbacks in different ways, as research from Web site performance monitoring firm Gomez showed in December. As eMarketer reports, "nearly one-fifth of US online buyers had experienced slow load times on travel sites," and eleven percent experienced difficulties completing transactions.  Over half of customers would leave after two or less negative experiences on the site, and another quarter would do the same after three tries. Interestingly enough, a masochistic ten percent indicated that "poor experiences will not impact the Websites" used for travel.

Underlining the importance of accessibility and reliability on these travel sites, the same article shows that the Hospitality & Tourism Industry Report from iPerceptions showed these factors in a site are nearly as important as price considerations.

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