Outrigger Hotels and Resorts

Published on Friday, January 30, 2009

Survey identifies frustrations of customers booking online

Travel companies are losing out on bookings because customers are frustrated by the online experience, according to a survey of 1,000 Brits.

The research, by Loudhouse and commissioned by CRM software specialist RightNow Technologies, identified the biggest frustration 'hot-spots' which prevent consumers from making a booking. It found:

- 53% are frustrated by not easily being able to find information on hidden costs

- 47% said they are frustrated by not finding specific information about holidays

- 45% are annoyed at not being able to ask questions about the holiday

- 35% find the actual buying process too complicated.

The survey found that 51% said unclear pricing and details about costs were most likely to prompt them to call or email the company, while 50% said they would be forced to contact the company because of unclear descriptions about holidays and flights.

The survey also found 72% of consumers have told others about a past negative online booking experience.

On a more positive front, 54% of consumers have told others about a good online booking experience.

The survey polled consumers about why they remain loyal to a travel company and found that top of the list was 'past good experiences' (65%), followed by 'good reputation' (53%) and
'offers best prices' (51%).

The survey found 21% of UK consumers plan to decrease the amount of holidays they book in 2009, and 72% of these will do so because they are concerned about cost.

Joe Brown, RightNow general manager EMEA, said: "The survey makes a clear association between delivering the level of customer care that consumers expect and customer loyalty.

“Even though consumer spending is decreasing, previous good experiences drive consumers to be loyal to holiday companies - ahead of company reputation or good prices.

“Word-of-mouth recommendations figure highly in a holidaymakers' decision-making process so it's essential that travel companies assess where the gaps are in their customer care strategies and invest in the technology and best practices to deliver exceptional customer experiences that will help future customer retention and acquisition."

By Bev Fearis

Story Image

Your Comments (4)

, be the first to post a comment.
Your email:

Email other comments made to this story

NOTE: Comments are subject to admin approval before being posted.
  • Free Advice??

    Andrew is absolutely right in that there is a trend back to the travel agent. However as agents we have to be so careful that we are not duped into providing all the answers to a client who then needs " time to think about it" which sometimes means " thanks, I will now go home and book it online". If anyone out there has a solution to that problem I would be please to hear it.

    By Martyn Fisher, Tuesday, February 10, 2009

  • Cruise add-ons

    I was recently using a well known budget cruise line's web site. Now I must say that the site always works well for me. However, a cruise search revealed a cruise priced at £500 (based on an inside cabin). However, when you get into the on-line booking process the "inside" cabin is no longer available (and has not been for a number of days) so you have to pay a cabin supplement to book the cruise. (So there was NO LONGER a cruise at the £500 fare although the opening fare is still advertised in the "search"). Then there are other supplements to add, including a £50 pp fuel surcharge (compulsory). A £12 pp charge to sit next to your travelling companion on the plane seems particularly mean. You don"t have to pay this but who wants to sit apart? A £15pp charge for "tickets on departure" fee for late booking also seems a bit steep to me. Four flight meals are £28. All these extra are clearly set out when you are using the "cost it" feature, but take your £500 cruise to maybe £700+. One can"t help feeling lured by a low fare then "stung"by add-ons.

    By Malcolm Oliver, Monday, February 2, 2009

  • less IS more sometimes

    Mr Brownrigg, is right to emphasise quality over quantity. Service is becoming an increasingly rare commodity in all industries, however expectations in tourism are high and rarely met. On-line booking systems often cause great frustration because they are attempting to achieve far too much. Confusing special offers often work against them with extra buttons and combinations. Mr & Mrs average punter do not have technology degrees and manoeuvring around some of the all-in-one sites can be a nightmare. In our experience with providing on-line booking systems for hotels, increasingly web visitors are searching out the hoteliers own websites and dealing direct and getting a far better experience

    By Peter Shearn, Friday, January 30, 2009

  • Online frustration turning the tide back towards travel agents

    Investment in technology is essential for marketing and communications purposes, but will never replace the value of personal expertise and service. The large numbers of frustrated online browsers are now realising how much time is wasted searching for information, and are turning back to contacting their travel consultants for their advice but also for their help with reservations. There is an ever increasing opportunity for both sectors of the industry to work together, with the internet providing a valuable source of information, but without any ability to provide objective advice or to make useful comparisons with suitable alternative choices of product. In the current economic climate, the market has reacted in a sensible manner with a combination of price cuts but also added value offers, with emails arriving every day with new incentives to persuade our clients to resume their travelling habits. Yes we do expect our clients to cut back their travel expenditure and probably also the length of their holidays, but what is much more important is that they do not drop their standards below what they are used to experiencing, and that they understand the added value that is now being included in the price. There is loyalty towards hotels and tour companies, but also increasingly to travel agents who know what their clients want and what they are used to, and who are improving their service and adapting to their clients tight budgets with proactive and innovative marketing initiatives. With recent events in mind, clients should also make sure that they receive a guarantee of 100% FINANCIAL PROTECTION,now offered by AITO (the Association of Independent Tour Operators) and their network of over 145 AITO Specialist Travel Agents around the UK.

    By andrew brownrigg, Thursday, January 29, 2009

Mole Poll
Have you seen a surge in demand for US trips?


UKinbound are in Manchester for the Annual Convention - What can you expect?

Qatar moved from red to amber list: Phil Dickinson details the growth plans for the destination

Japan - The bucket list destination - five experts describe a life in the day of a visitor

Lonely Planet launch UK Road trip Guide

Ottawa - Capital of Canada is open for business and ready for visitors