LONDON, June 12, 2019 – Technology has transformed the online travel industry but it hasn’t made holiday bookings quicker for consumers. According to How We Book Now, a new report released today by Yieldify, 42% of consumers spend more time on research and booking than they did five years ago.
That increase is being driven by two main behavioral trends. Firstly, consumers are now acting as their own travel agents. Yieldify’s research shows that there are multiple purchase journeys for each trip, with 48% booking each part of their vacation separately. Given how dramatically the travel industry has changed, it’s no surprise that 42% of participants believe the process of researching or purchasing travel products online is fragmented and complex.
Secondly, digital travel has become a victim of its own success. The number of travel websites has exploded in recent years, creating a limitless scope for research prior to booking. That in turn leads to ‘analysis paralysis’, with 50% of consumers visiting more sites than they did five years ago. Meanwhile, an overwhelming majority (78%) of travelers claim that they now visit multiple sites when deciding a holiday destination. The booking funnel is expanding, which is creating more work for consumers and, crucially, more chances for ecommerce companies to lose them on the journey.
In terms of bookings, price still has a large role to play in attracting consumers to travel sites, but it’s only marginally more important than previous experience (49% vs 46%). Previous experience (46%) and reviews (41%) are more influential than ease of booking (39%) in swaying a customers’ decision.
Wai Lin Yip, Corporate Director of ecommerce at Arlo Hotels and contributor to the report, added: “Travelers these days are very savvy. One of the biggest challenges for any travel brand is encouraging customers to book directly so that they can capture data and use it to build customer loyalty and ensure repeat business. This report proves that a personalized approach is needed to attract and sustain customers’ attention on these long and complex journeys.”
With 35% of consumers saying that they’re not comfortable with brands collecting and sharing their data, getting personalization right is a challenge. Yet there is hope: 80% of travelers are broadly in favor of a personalized experience when booking travel, providing they get something in return – such as reduced prices or special services. This is not surprising given that many applications of personalization seek to simplify the customer journey – reviews (67%), real-time availability (61%) and personalized loyalty schemes (67%) were all rated positively.
Mark Murray, Head of Travel at Yieldify, said: “The results of the study confirm the trends that we’ve seen amongst many of our travel clients over the last year. As research and booking options proliferate, there’s a need to shift towards personalization strategies that improve the customer journey, making it easier for consumers to discover and purchase the right travel products.”
More information about Yieldify and today’s report can be found at yieldify.com.
Yieldify is a customer journey optimization company that brings personalization to the full customer journey. It combines award-winning software with a proven CJOTM methodology to deliver measurable results quickly and easily.
To date, Yieldify has influenced over 100 million sales through more than 200,000 journeys. It currently delivers customer journey optimization for over 1,000 leading e-commerce websites, including Domino’s Pizza, L’Oreal and megabus. Learn more at yieldify.com.