Optimize Online Bookings in the Travel Sector to Delight Customers and Drive Revenue

By Alex Painter | 8/20/18

Providing an amazing customer experience is critical in the travel and hospitality sector. Competition is fierce and consumers are fickle. If one website fails to deliver a slick, easy-to-use online interface, an alternative is only a couple of clicks away.

Yet companies in this sector also face a number of unique challenges. Many rely on third-party systems outside their control to deliver up-to-the minute information on availability. Bookings processes can seem lengthy and involved to end users who are increasingly used to single-click checkouts. Some organizations turn to A/B and multivariate testing (MVT) to refine and optimize customer experiences. But while valuable, such solutions only tell part of the story. Speed is often a forgotten, but important, conversion factor.

According to Google, 53 percent of mobile users will abandon a web page that takes more than three seconds to load. Which doesn’t bode well if you’re already experiencing difficulties in delivering content, fast. What’s more, you may be exacerbating existing performance issues through MVT solutions that slow down your web pages even more.

Measure the Impact of Speed

Before addressing the issue, you first need to understand the extent of the problem. To what degree are slow load times impacting customer experience as well as business KPIs such as conversion, bounce rate, and revenue? This is where Eggplant Real Customer Insights comes in. Through performance impact prediction, it’s possible to correlate performance with key business outcomes and even predict — with over 90-percent accuracy — how improving load times (for example, by one second) would affect conversion, user engagement, bounce rate, and revenue.

This is, of course, only half the battle. Once you know the impact of slow load times, you need to know how to address them. Again, Real Customer Insights can give you a starting point, helping you identify the pinch points in user journeys, as well as the customer segments (such as mobile users) you need to prioritize. You can then start to optimize for speed, using techniques such as prefetching (loading content in advance) in user journeys to deliver smoother transitions between steps, or using cut-down, fast-loading templates for key landing pages. And once you’ve been through the process, you can go back to Real Customer Insights to validate the impact.

Break Down Silos to Delight Customers

Of course, no one sets out to create an online booking platform that delivers a poor customer experience, but it does happen. One reason why is the tendency for development, testing, operations, and e-commerce to all operate within their own silos, each with their own ideas of what’s required to deliver the optimum solution. For some, it may be all about availability. For others, it may be about whether a given number of happy path user journeys can be completed successfully in testing. This is why it’s critical to break down the barriers between those silos, and, for example, use Eggplant Release Insights to understand the impact of a release on customer experience and how it affects real business outcomes.

Ultimately, the aim is to build an understanding of Customer Experience Optimization that’s shared throughout the organization — one that creates happier customers, better conversion rates, and more revenue. Find out how in our upcoming webinar: Customer Experience Optimization for Online Bookings. Register now.

Topics: User Experience, User experience testing, business outcomes, business KPIs, Eggplant Release Insights, Customer Experience Insights, Real Customer Insights, customer experience optimization, release quality, KPIs, Eggplant solutions, user journey, Web Performance, Performance testing

Alex Painter

Written by Alex Painter

Alex is a senior web performance consultant who helps organizations deliver faster, more reliable online experiences. After graduating in law, Alex worked in marketing for a number of years, eventually moving into web development and web performance, joining Eggplant just recently.

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