Having a good website is key for the success of an OTA.
Although price is one of the most important factors in driving customer satisfaction, new research has suggested that it is the effectiveness of an online travel agent’s (OTA) website that truly ensures success.
The J.D. Power 2014 Online Travel Agency Satisfaction Report, found that OTAs that performed the highest were those that managed to provide a superior website or online store.
When it comes to a high-achieving online platform, the aspects most favored by customers included a clear layout and design, easy navigation and availability of useful information.
Overall, the report found that customer satisfaction with OTAs is 788 out of 1,000, with that high rate predictably translating into higher repurchase rates.
Consumers that rated their overall satisfaction as outstanding (ten out of ten) would purchase from an online travel website an average of 4.4 times per year, while those who offered an average satisfaction rating would do so 3.1 times.
The report examined a number of services that were offered by an OTA and the subsequent experience of travelers in booking flights, accommodation or car rentals.
All of those services were measured to seven different types of criteria, including availability of reservation options, online store, ease of booking, competitiveness of sales and promotions, and contact with customer service.
Rick Garlick, global travel and hospitality practice lead at J.D. Power, said: “In today’s competitive market, offering a low price is a necessity but does not automatically ensure customer satisfaction.
“Online travel agencies need to provide a user-friendly Web experience to meet customer expectations. If the site does not function well or provide the kind of information customers expect, they will either move on to a competitor’s website or phone the agency’s call center, costing the agency time and money.”
In general customers use online travel sites due to the fact they offer an inexpensive and low-contact booking process.
Unsurprisingly customers responded most positively when mistakes or problems were resolved quickly, an issue that affected nearly one-fifth (18 percent) of customers.