To find out how online shoppers research and book their vacation, we actively co-sponsored a recent research white paper from Phocuswright entitled ‘Influencing travelers in the new digital funnel’. The research reveals the changes taking place and unlocks unprecedented opportunities for online travel retailers to target, influence and monetise travellers’ multi-channel shopping behaviour.
The white paper indicates how leisure travellers, across eight (emerging and mature) markets, navigate the search-shop-buy process. Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) and Metasearch companies alike now have numerous opportunities to attract, inspire and convert travellers.
Mobile is a game changer and it’s happening now
The proliferation of mobile devices and social networking has transformed the way travellers shop online. The use of tablets and smartphones for leisure travel planning is growing rapidly worldwide. As with online sharing, mobile travel planning is highest in emerging markets.
More than half of Chinese leisure travellers and 27% of those in Brazil shopped for their last leisure trip via smartphone. However, in mature markets, although PC use is still strong, it has begun to decline as travellers start to rely instead on mobile devices.
OTAs seem to be leading the way and some are going as far as to adopt a mobile-first strategy and others will likely follow suit as device choice influences channel selection.
Merchandising matters (a lot)
Attracting and retaining shoppers is a recurring challenge for online travel retailers. However, travellers remain unsure about where they can find the cheapest price and the most cost-effective channel.
Online travel retailers who offer a great user experience, who can provide comparative shopping options for multiple suppliers, enriched with clear transparent offers and associated functionality & services
- such as merchandising (ancillary services cross-sell and fare families upsell) - are likely to become travellers’ preferred one-stop-shops and are therefore more likely to retain them.
It also highlights how online retailers can continue to build their value proposition to end consumers by offering more value beyond cheapest price. But watch this space as Metasearch companies could well be one of the technology-driven disruptors to come.
Seeing is believing
So, what will it take to be the first choice for online shoppers? Yes, travellers want a good price, but they also want a site that is easy to use – and more - and they won’t be willing to compromise.
Improved user experience, mobile merchandising, user-generated content and post-purchase services could well be the next key loyalty drivers that matter most to online shoppers, bringing value to their own travel experience.
At Amadeus, we have the technology, the functionality and content ready to support this evolution and shape the future of your online travel business.
Are you ready?
Source: ‘Influencing Travelers in the New Digital Funnel’, Phocuswright 2015