Retail Travel Businesses Must Improve the User Experience Online or Risk Losing Customers
The travel industry was one of the first to see the potential of marketing services online. As consumers around the world gained access to the web, travel sites responded rapidly creating new, lower-cost channels to the market. Today, airlines, hotels, and tourism agencies are counting on the web to play a significant role in driving tourism dollars and business momentum.
However, is the travel industry truly leveraging all that the web could do for it? It is a question we posed to European travel agencies in a recent article for Travolution (UK’s largest travel industry portal) in which Jeff Kim outlined some of the reasons why retail travel businesses need to do more to drive a richer, better experience and a higher level of personalization.
A Feb. 2012 survey by Compuware indicates that 75% of those who experience poor website performance go to a competitor’s site. 86% of consumers are less likely to return after a poor web experience. 43% said it damaged their perception of the company and they would tell others about it.
The crux of the change is twofold. First, the travel and tourism industry handles rich data, with video rapidly overtaking images as the users’ preference, whether at home or on the move using mobile platforms. That raises the significance of performance. When a user in Australia is considering a vacation in Europe, he probably won’t stick around if a web page full of pictures takes 12 seconds to load. With video, the problem is compounded and in a blink, they’ve left the site and started to look elsewhere.
Secondly, the expectations of tourists and travelers have changed. They demand not only instantaneous information but also personalized, contextualized information that recognizes and reflects the nature of the query they are making – real-time and relevant offers tailored to appeal to their individual needs. That simply cannot be achieved with a static website composed of standard pages alone – no matter how fast you deliver them. The more complex delivery relies on managing dynamic content, compiled and delivered in real time.
The two challenges can be overcome by content delivery networking services, which not only speed up delivery of static content wherever needed, including speeding up rich content like video, but vastly accelerate the delivery of dynamic web content. The potential to reduce web page loading is huge – imagine our Australian tourist getting information in just 3 seconds rather than 12 and the impact is clear. Now, imagine them getting not just faster delivery but a more personalized, relevant page too, with content that reflects what they are looking for, plus some smart up-sell and cross-sell ideas.
To stay competitive travel industry players must accelerate and improve customer experience. Content delivery networking is becoming a ‘must have’ for travel and tourism businesses around the world.
See Jeff’s blog on Travolution