Using Travel Websites

By | Category: Travel rumblings

The travel industry was one of the early adopters of the internet. These days searching travel and tourism websites is regularly listed as one of the top things to do. And obviously Just about Travel readers have more interest in it than most since we are only available online. But how easy is it to use? Does a bad website put us off? Are some better at information than in accepting orders? Are pricing issues concealed until the last moment making customers wary of using them.
EDigitalResearch has provided some of the answers in their new study published this month. They have looked at 47 sites during the last two months and assessed them for first impressions (does it look easy/cluttered etc) how easy is it to use it, do the searches work easily, how does it handle bookings and finally how easy is it to contact them. It all boils down to one word “Easy.” You want things to be simple. The harder they become the less likely you are to return.
They have only examined websites covering airlines, channel crossings, cruises, hotel agents and chains, online travel agents and online tour operators. In the future maybe they can add tourist destination websites, train booking sites and attractions and then most of what, we as travellers want, will be covered.
Enough waffle; what are their conclusions?
The channel crossing sites are felt to be the overall best for all features, airlines are pretty good apart from poor customer service. Hotel online booking sites fare better than the actual hotel chains themselves. But overall, the website of Premier Inn is felt to be the best and is rated at 82.8%. In comparison, Ryanair’s website, the last of the 47, is rated at only 58.4% The leading holiday company is Eurocamp at 79.7%, the leading channel crossing site, Sea France with 79.3% and the leading airline, British Airways with 76.7%. For first impressions, the Thomson site leads and for customer service, the site of Voyage Jules Verne is out in front. Having said that, customer service is something that virtually every website needs to imrove say eDigitalResearch. Thomas Cook is the best online travel agent site.
But how do they compare for ease of us with websites outside the travel industry? Marks & Spencer have the most highly rated website with a score of 87%. The lowest ranking is that of Ing Direct in the finance sector is 53% so, on the whole, it seems we find travel sites fairly easy to use.
Unless you know differently. Feel free to tell us which ones you have found less than easy to use.

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