The travel industry has experienced a great deal of upheaval in years characterised by swift change in customer habits and the impressive unwillingness of many companies to adapt.
To be fair, travel companies have come a long way in the past three to four years. Apps are now common place for airlines and some airports and travel websites are starting to adopt responsively designed websites.
In this post I’ll be taking a look at some recent studies into the mobile strategies of travel companies and airlines.
I’ll be pondering what the best approach is for these companies and whether in fact there’s no sense in avoiding apps or responsive websites, given their respective parts to play in the customer journey.
Copywriting is an important part of a company’s image, as it helps to define the consumer perception of the brand personality.
For example, Innocent Smoothies uses quirky, light-hearted copy to portray a caring, friendly brand image.
But to what extent can copywriting really impact the consumer perception of a brand when they are already familiar with the business?
Brand language consultancy The Writer investigated this topic by testing people’s reaction to a series of customer scenarios.
2,000 consumers blind-tested writing samples from three airlines and three retailers, as well as an invented sample for each scenario.
The online travel market in the UK is valued at more than £17bn, and half of all customers book holidays on the web, yet there is much room for improving the user experience.
Travel customers are also a fickle bunch, with low brand loyalty, so brands that can offer a great customer experience can differentiate themselves.
With this in mind, QuBit has produced a benchmark study of five of the UK's airline brands and their online performance.
British Airways comes out of the study with flying colours while (surprise, surprise) Ryanair is bottom of the table...
The RNIB (Royal National Institute for the Blind) has decided to sue BMI Baby over its failure to deal with the poor accessibility of its website.
This is not the first time that accusations of poor web accessibility have been levelled at an airline, and it is no surprise that travel websites are an area of focus.
Vertical search is already a big focus in the search
market, and Google has its sights set on the skies. And we're not talking about the infamous Google party plane.
Yesterday, Google announced that it is buying flight information
software company ITA Software for $700m in cash. ITA Software's technology is widely used by airlines and online travel
destinations, and "effortlessly searches – at a billion combinations
per query – fares, schedules, and availability." That's why Google was
willing to pay big bucks for ITA's technology, which it hopes will
enable it to help passengers, airlines and online travel agencies find
flights and fares more efficiently.
Budget airlines EasyJet and Ryanair have made great strides in terms of website usability, while British Airways provides the best online experience overall, according to a new study.
Webcredible's 2010 Flights Online study has assessed the websites of 20 UK travel agent and airline websites against usability best practice guidelines.
BA is top with a score of 78%, followed by EasyJet on 77% and Virgin Atlantic on 75%. Ryanair, bottom is last year's study, has improved to reach eighth place with a score of 66%.
What's the best way to reach frequent flyers on the go looking to spend money? For Continental Airlines, the answer was mobile banner ads. Over the summer, Continental ran sent banner ads to the mobile phones of consumers with household incomes over $100,000 that had traveled in the last three months.
According to MediaPost, the campaign increased awareness about Continental ads by 60%. Beyond the fact that consumers appear to be looking at banner ads in mobile, this campaign touches on the issue of mobile preparedness for brands.
As consumers become more dependant on their phones for transactions and information, they'll also start spending more money there. And campaigns like this show that brands equipped to handle the mobile shift will bring in increased revenue.
The websites of some of the UK's budget airlines are some of the worst to use, with four of them scoring 50% or less for usabilty, with Ryanair coming last with just 41%.
This is the verdict of Webcredible's Flights Online study, which looks at the websites of 20 airlines and travel agents in the UK. British Airways topped the table with 71%, closely followed by Expedia and Virgin Atlantic on 70%.
Having paid a reported $1.8m just for the domain name, TravelZoo has launched a comparison site for airline tickets, Fly.com, this week.
Providing an excellent user experience on travel websites is vital, given the complexity of the product on offer in terms of different flight options and the quantity of results, so how does Fly.com measure up?