Travel, Tourism & Hospitality

Travel providers’ priorities 'at odds with today’s travellers’ needs'

Expedia Partner Solutions (EPS), one of the B2B brands of Expedia Group, has found that travel providers are falling short of travellers’ expectations and failing to deliver on their top priorities, according to its new report ‘Global traveller expectations: how to deliver on what travellers really want’.

Following a survey of 25,000 travellers from 35 countries, EPS is citing competitive pricing – including offers and promotions; responsive, ‘always on’ customer service; and ease of website navigation as highly important in having a positive booking experience. However, those surveyed feel that travel providers aren’t always meeting their needs. In some cases, travel providers are even over-delivering on features such as the quantity of accommodation.

According to EPS, the report demonstrates that, in a world overwhelmed with choice, choice itself can become the friction, which makes it unsurprising that quantity of accommodation is at the bottom of travellers’ lists when it comes to importance.

Key findings of the report include:

A quarter of global travellers wish providers would focus more attention on customer service
When asked for the one thing they wished travel providers would focus attention on, more than a quarter (26 per cent) of all travellers surveyed said that customer service was the priority, second only to more competitive offers and promotions (28 per cent).

Quality and relevancy of accommodation content is a deal breaker for frequent travellers
Of those travellers taking the most trips annually (10+) 31 per cent gave the ‘relevancy of accommodations to my needs’ the highest rating of importance within the booking experience. And 34 per cent of this subset attributed this same level of importance to the quality of content that accompanied these accommodation options too, namely, the images and description accompanying a listing.

Ease of website navigation is important for emerging markets
35 per cent of respondents in Africa gave ease of website navigation ‘10 out of 10’ for importance in having a positive booking experience. For the Middle East, this was 30 per cent and for APAC 27 per cent, making it the second-highest factor for these three regions. However, only 24 per cent of respondents globally said their travel providers were doing an ‘excellent’ job in creating travel sites which are easy to navigate.

Competitive pricing isn’t top of the wish list globally
The research report noted that North American and European travellers – the latter being amongst the most prolific users of comparison search engines - highly value competitive pricing, with more than a quarter of Europeans (26 per cent) and nearly a third (32 per cent) of North Americans ranking it as the most important element of a positive booking experience. Surprisingly, not all countries put competitive pricing first for importance. For Latin America, Africa and Asia Pacific, competitive pricing is not in the top three rankings.

Isabelle Pinson, vice president marketing, EPS brand, said: “Our research report highlights a disconnect between what travellers most value in a travel provider and what these businesses are delivering. It is crucial that travel providers really understand what drives traveller choices and behaviours because those providers that fine-tune their offering to really match their travellers’ needs are sure to gain a competitive edge and build loyalty. At EPS, we unlock the power of Expedia Group by leveraging billions of global booking data points to shape the solutions we create for our travel partners. This ensures our products offer a seamless booking experience for travellers and strong conversion rates for travel businesses."

“While this report highlights that there are some universal expectations among global travellers that providers need to be aware of, importantly, there are also key differences in priorities, depending on which region travellers are from, how often they travel and the purpose of their trip. Therefore, it’s crucial that travel providers understand the needs of their specific audience to deliver on traveller expectations.”

‘Global traveller expectations: how to deliver on what travellers really want’ is based on an independent survey commissioned by EPS. - TradeArabia News Service