Thursday, October 25, 2007

Websites need to maintain standards to retain customers

Our latest column in Travel Weekly:

Journalists are bombarded on an almost daily basis with the results of a survey, invariably peddled out by a PR company acting on behalf of a client.

“About 90% of consumers admit they have little or no protection against Internet fraudsters,” would be a typical one from a provider of home computer security software.

So imagine our scepticism last week when a survey arrived stating: “50% of the UK’s leading high-street retailers’ websites offer a poorer customer experience this Christmas, compared with last year.”

The survey revealed many high-street retailers risk losing substantial revenue because of sliding standards on their websites.

Unfortunately the survey only looked at non-travel retailers, but it blamed poor usability, confusing checkout processes and so on.

However, look at the principle in the first survey alongside the recent analysis of Forrester, a research group in the US, which said bookings on travel websites in the US are falling due to “inferior” usability, and there is cause for concern.

If consumers are turning away from travel websites because they are offering a poor user experience when they try to buy products, some parts of the industry will face an uncertain future.

Indeed, this should not be seen as some kind of lifeline to traditional high-street agencies.

Consumers – whether we like or not – are drawn to the web for buying travel for many different reasons.

However, just because there are an increasing number of poor-performing websites, doesn’t automatically mean consumers will go rushing back to the town centre – I would guess that in most cases they will simply find somewhere else to go online to buy their flight, hotel or package holiday.

And consumers, let’s face it, do not care.

Kevin May, editor, Travolution


MarkH said...

My first try at blog posting but I'll learn fast I hope. My Online Airline Tickets Source site depends on it! But for my real income I still have Montana Land for Sale and Big Sky Country in general.

We try to keep our web sites fresh and informative with both the best in ticket sources and Montana Real Estate.

Alex B said...

Yes - I think you will learn quite a lot from your first blog comment experience.

Darren Cronian said...

Yes, for a start, read up on the 'no follow' tag, which blog software uses in comments so that the search engines don't follow your links.