Shopping experience, key to the development of OTAs for the future
According to a study, almost half of travelers do not remember which website they used to make their last reservation
Nearly half (46%) of travelers don't remember which online travel agency (OTA) they used to book their last leisure trip, according to the Travelport study on modern marketing, new independent research commissioned by the global technology company that drives travel bookings for hundreds of thousands of travel providers around the world.
To better understand the current landscape of online travel retail and to identify gaps in traveler shopping experiences, Travelport commissioned a new research study in collaboration with Toluna Research among thousands of leisure and business travelers from around the world. world.
The modern merchandising study reveals important factors that contribute to brand recall for OTAs, such as the booking experience. Of all the travelers surveyed who could remember the last OTA they booked with, the vast majority (78%) rated the experience as "above average" or "excellent". And while most US travelers don't have a preferred OTA (55%), many travelers from Saudi Arabia (63%) and Japan (70%) say they have a favorite travel website.
Among travelers who do have a preferred OTA, factors such as "a wider range of choices" have driven loyalty in Saudi Arabia (54%), the United States (51%) and Japan (38%). OTAs also win over travelers in Japan with personalized experiences (45%), as well as the ability to "easy navigate the website" in Saudi Arabia (42%) and the United States (40%).
"As one of the first sectors to go digital many years ago, the travel industry has a strong track record of innovation." said Jen Catto, Chief Marketing Officer at Travelport. "However, the digital expectations of travelers have evolved rapidly, far exceeding the current capabilities of travel retail. Our priority is to put the needs of our clients first to better serve their clients - agencies need more options , clear comparison of purchases, and easy ways to manage experiences like trade-ins/reissues. While price is important, these value-add factors create a "great" modern retail experience that stands out and earns loyalty."
Customers are less price sensitive
Historically, OTAs have tried to compete on only one factor - price - but that's not what customers need to remember the experience. Of travelers who don't remember the last OTA they used, nearly half (44%) rated their last experience as "poor" or "below average." In some parts of the world, travelers from Saudi Arabia (60%) and the United States (60%) are the most forgetful of the specific OTA brands they have used, and there is a significant difference of 19 and 27 percentage points between the recall and an "above average" experience, respectively. 
The study also indicates that OTAs may be less distinguishable because they have been focusing on the wrong things. While it is true that they focus on price, it is likely that they do so at the expense of other experience factors that travelers consider important when booking a trip. As travelers use OTA sites to search and compare, the survey revealed that a booking opportunity has been missed, with most travelers no longer booking a car (67%) or air travel ( 55%), and more than a third (36%) do not book their hotel accommodation on OTA sites. However, travelers also noted that the ability to "book everything at once" is one of the most important reasons for using an OTA.
Modern travel marketing isn't just for leisure travelers: business travelers are even less engaged
Although the majority (78%) of business travelers abide by company policy, the study reveals that 99% of employees do not know the name of the travel management company (TMC) they use for travel. book your business trips.
Delving into the possible causes, the survey found that the majority of business travelers (69%) find the options provided to be "undesirable", while more than a third (46%) want more options, (38%) lack overall confident in their TMC booking and (35%) want business travel options that support their well-being.
Online travel retailers now have the opportunity to build customer loyalty in the modern retail era by focusing on factors beyond price. For more survey results and insights from Travelport 's modern retail research, visit www.travelport.com/differentiation-in-travel .