Online Travel Booking: What influences Consumers?

Travel Planning Fun

Travel Planning Fun

For today’s time poor consumers, booking a holiday can be a tough and time consuming process where the slightest assistance can help no end. The age old question always fired at a new band, ‘What are your influences?’ is just as important when it comes to online travel customers.

In today’s environment of long working hours and growing economic challenges, there’s much that can be done both to make life easier for consumers and boost your travel business. >>Full Story

Thoughts// An interesting usability article from Webcredible examining “best practices” for travel booking sites and also good reinforcement for DMOs.   Key takeaways:

  1. Research: Despite the fact that nearly a third of their vistors are in the “research/destination consideration” phase, booking sites have traditionally been short on comprehensive destination information;  we’re starting to see this trend being bucked by efforts such as Travelocity’s ExperienceFinder and Orbitz’s alignment with Frommer’s.   However the fact remains that destinations still own the story, when it comes to providing travel advice and guidance.   It also once again reinforces Troy’s takeaway from e-Tourism earlier this week that there’s “there is not a compelling argument not to have a booking engine” on a DMO site.  Consumers are coming to your site through keyword searches; why not offer them a way to buy attractions tickets or hotel rooms through a “whitelabel” booking engine?
  2. Word of Mouth & Reviews: Travelers want to hear what other like them are experiencing in your destination. How long have we been saying that?   Allow your consumers to share their story, let them tell you the good, the bad and the ugly.  And if you really want to be objective, why not partner with a site such as TripAdvisor or the GoSeeTell network?  RSS and other tools make showing relevant ratings and reviews on your site easier than ever before.  See how Troy is doing it on for example (bottom right).
  3. Other recommendations: Other recommendations include: cross-selling (this doesn’t just apply to selling (see how recommends “near-by experiences” as a suggestion tool), allowing consumers to save trip components for later use, allowing groups to build and pay for trips together, and a way to aggregate and organize all trip information in a simple itinerary format (much like TripIt).

Comment? @travel2dot0 or email.