LONDON - According to the latest eTravel Benchmark results from eDigitalResearch (edr), personalised digital experiences are a growing trend amongst travel brands and a key driver behind Booking.com's benchmark leading multichannel experience.
Booking.com top the benchmark results for a record fifth consecutive wave. Awareness of the sites personalisation features is higher than any other travel site with 3 out of 5 (60%) of shoppers aware they are being served personalised content compared to the lowly study average of just 1 in 5 (or 20%). Simple techniques, such as saved searches directly accessible and clearly labelled on the homepage landed well with users.
Analysis of results shows that where personalised content is encountered and recognised, 90% of surveyors rate the content and experience they get as 'excellent' or 'good'. However, despite the majority of travel sites deploying some form of personalisation strategy, a sizeable proportion are going unnoticed - and signals to the digital travel industry that more needs to be done in order to capitalise on the growing number of digital travel shoppers.
Derek Eccleston, Chief Development Officer at eDigitalResearch (edr), explains, "Personalisation is a growing trend in the digital customer experience sphere and a fantastic way of evoking an emotional reaction from customers and creating a lasting connection. The fact that so many travel brands are putting effort into creating techniques that are going unnoticed by users means that they're missing out on this opportunity and the potential it can offer. With an estimated $168 billion spent online last year for travel, the digital customer experience has never been so important."
On top of their personalised features, users also rated Booking.com's easy-to-use search function and range of information, photos and reviews across their whole range. The site scored top marks for its homepage on all three digital channels - site, mobile and app - and performed consistently well across the rest of the digital customer journey.
Elsewhere in the benchmark, Thomson scoop the runners-up award for the second wave running thanks to their comprehensive destination guides, engaging content and simple booking process. The TUI Group operator also rated highly for overall site speed, design and usability.
Rob Kitchen, travel specialist and Senior Research Manager at eDigitalResearch (edr), comments, "Thomson's initial research stage of the digital customer journey is a leading example of how to do content well. Their destination guides are interactive and engaging, allowing users to see as little or as much information as possible - plus their recommendation features are a great way to inspire potential holiday-makers."
eDigitalResearch's (edr's) eTravel Benchmark measures the digital customer experience across all digital channels for nineteen leading travel brands - including airlines, booking agents and hoteliers. Running since 2009, eDigitalResearch (edr) now hold eight years of digital experience data for the travel industry.
Derek finalises, "As leading experts in the customer experience we have been benchmarking the travel industry for a long time now, so we know what good looks like. With more consumers than ever purchasing travel online, a great end-to-end user experience is fundamental to a brands success."