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Survey says: Top three frictions points on travel booking sites

Despite rising COVID-19 cases, U.S. consumers are more than ready to travel. In a recent Glassbox study, 57% of the respondents are planning a personal or family vacation in the next year, and more than 25% are extremely comfortable traveling. The bad news? Consumers are experiencing major friction points on travel sites and apps that make for a bumpy digital journey—and risk to an industry already struggling to win back customers.

With increasing travel and borders opening up, the survey focused on consumers’ behaviors and viewpoints for airline, hotel and other travel-related digital platforms. Our goal was to identify and understand what effective digital journeys look like.

Consumer pain points

The study of 1,000 Americans uncovered the three top problems encountered on travel sites and apps:

  • Difficulty navigating around sites was called out as the most prevalent issue, identified by 45% of the respondents.
  • Misleading pricing/lack of price transparency was identified by 39% of respondents as their biggest sore point.
  • Technical glitches was named by 30% as their top issue.

Death of the travel agency?

These friction points become even more crucial with travel on the rise and 77% of respondents preferring to book their plans on their own instead of using a travel agency service. But here’s the rub: Consumers must pull off a juggling act to coordinate different parts of the travel journey (flight, rental car, hotel/vacation home, etc.), which requires multiple apps and sites. It’s rare for one platform to bring together all the different parts of the travel journey. Underscoring this fact, only 9% of survey respondents go to a single app for all of their travel planning.

Show me the money

Whether it’s one app or five, not only are more consumers booking their own travel, the majority prioritize a deep discount over going on their dream vacation. In fact, 58% of respondents say their travel destination is influenced by whether they can get a better price and available discounts.

Reputations on the line

Dealing with many platforms to coordinate travel also means that consumers develop opinions about each of these experiences. More than half of the survey respondents reported that their digital journey influences how they feel about a brand—for better or worse. This reinforces the point that customers don’t just want and expect a seamless digital experience, but companies need to respond to their needs to maintain a positive reputation as interest in travel continues to grow post-pandemic.

Larger forces play a role

In the bigger picture, these survey results also reflect the large digital acceleration shifts during the pandemic across industries. As consumers pivoted to online purchasing for browsing, shopping and purchasing when lockdowns began in 2020, expectations also grew for a swift and seamless digital experiences on digital platforms. For the airline industry, which was already playing catch up for both in-person and online service, user friction points on websites and apps only added pressure.

What now?

All of these dynamics add up to one conclusion: Travel sites need to up their game for the growing consumer demand to offer a delightful digital experience—or lose customers to the competition.

A good start is to focus on fixing friction areas consumer experience on web and mobile applications: streamlining clunky navigation; fixing technical glitches through the booking process; and delivering transparent pricing. These three moves are the ticket to landing more online travel business for 2021 and beyond.

How Glassbox can help

Consumers today have high expectations when it comes to the digital experience. Understanding the friction points on your website and mobile app is the first step to ensuring your customers experience a seamless digital journey. See how Glassbox can help by visiting our Demo Center.

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