Industry snapshot: above average engagement, high frustration
While the tourism and travel industry generated $9.25 trillion in 2019, a turbulent 2020 has experts predicting a 17% drop in the aftermath of COVID-19. Prior to these new travel obstacles, top online booking brands Expedia and Booking Holdings hit record numbers, demonstrating the growing value in digital experiences in this space. An experience-first mindset online may be what’s needed for travel companies to aid recovery from 2020’s difficulties.
Travel’s biggest user frustrations
With travellers warier of booking trips nowadays, online booking sites simply can’t afford to miss the mark on the user experience. In fact, 70% of customers abandon purchases because of bad user experiences. From online booking forms to listings page layouts, frustration on your website or app will jeopardize conversion.
With 8.7% of page views containing instances of user frustration, travel generally performs poorly against the 5.8% average of other industries. It has a relatively high occurrence of bird’s nest behavior, which refers to when a user rapidly shakes their mouse in confusion, unresponsive multiclicks, which typically occur on broken links or buttons, and repeated device rotation, the result of content not fitting the screen. It does have a lower incidence of rapid scrolling per user session however, which signals user frustration in certain contexts.
3 ways to reduce frustration in travel
Design practical webpage layouts
If your site’s travel listings frustrate users with sloppy and confusing layouts, they’ll promptly find another platform to book their dream trip. To perfect on-page designs, use heatmaps to visualize aggregate webpage behaviors and optimize for quick and logical booking processes.
Create flexible buying journeys
From hotels to flights to activities, frustrations can snowball with logistical roadblocks created by barebones or limited booking options. Establishing an ‘à la carte’ booking process with flexible customizations at every step can smooth out the buying journey and boost conversions.
Streamline online booking forms
Forms can make or break user experiences, making them a pillar of successful online booking platforms. It’s best to build forms with time-saving autofill, minimalistic and organized layouts, along with crystal clear steps and instructions.
Image content is hugely important to travel customers, with a significant number of responsive multiclicks demonstrating engagement with image slideshows. However, customers are typically more frustrated than average, with travel destinations causing looping navigational behavior and exhibiting poor technical performances.
Travel’s biggest user engagements
How exactly is experience tied to engagement?
Keeping users interested and engaged in the buying journey often hinges on one factor: experience. Given that 75% consumers expect a consistent experience wherever they engage, the digital experiences on your website or app carry more weight than ever before.
With sessions having an average Engagement Score of 4.7/10, travel performs slightly better than the 4.6 average of other industries. In terms of overt signals, it has lower incidences of both reading behavior, which refers to users following content with their mouse, and select and copy behavior; but performs very well on responsive multiclicks, which refers to users clicking through a responsive element like an image carousel.
3 ways to drive more engagement in travel
Personalize content and experiences
To keep users engaged, you’ve got to deliver content and experiences that truly cater to their interests. Whether that means personalizing homepages for frequent travellers on your site, or customizing messaging based on a user’s trip-booking interests – make it highly personal.
Focus on mobile booking experiences
Quick mobile access has more users looking to book vacations or business trips from the palms of their hands. To accommodate, you’ll need to focus optimizing your site specifically for mobile journeys with an emphasis on easy usability and fast performance.
Make account access user-friendly
Repeat booking users will expect more your website or app. Keep those loyal travellers satisfied with user account experiences that streamline booking processes by retaining contact and booking info, while remembering travel habits to minimize extra effort on their end.
Travel’s user journey trends
Optimizing every user journey matters, but journeys that see the most traffic require special attention. Tracking customer journeys in real time is key to delivering on customer expectations, yet 2/3 of organizations lack this capability.
With an average Navigation Score of 9.3/10, travel performs in line with the 9.3 average of other industries. Per page view, the on-page refresh rate is 14.9%, and the revisit rate of pages is high at 49.2% against the 32.7% average of other industries – suggesting travel users are often having to revisit old ground on previously visited pages to find what they need.
EXPERIENCE & CONVERSION
Travel’s correlation between digital experience and conversion
Research shows that roughly every $1 invested in user experience brings $100 in return, which proves the ever-growing impact digital experiences have on the success of your website or app. With this trend, businesses need to understand just exactly how those experiences impact metrics, more specifically conversions.
Generally, the goal conversion rate in travel is significantly higher than in other industries, but its correlation to DXS® is lower, which could mean travellers’ tolerance for mediocre experiences is higher in travel than elsewhere – though the quality of the overall experience remains vitally important.
3 travel digital experience trends and tips to look out for in 2021
Flexibility will remain important
As regulations across the globe continue to be changeable, offering customers flexibility in their booking options will become more widespread throughout the travel industry.
Rethinking traveller journeys
Both in an offline and online sense, the traveller journey may look very different in the year ahead. Digitally, there is opportunity to streamline the navigational experience for customers to provide desired information as efficiently as possible.
Digital experience optimization will be key
With customer expectations irrevocably shifted, investing in digital experience optimization has never been more crucial for travel companies looking to stay relevant.