New study stresses on the importance of speed and usability of travel websites

Wednesday 16, June 2010


New study stresses on the importance of speed and usability of travel websites


A new research study, examining consumer response to travel site performance, has indicated that there is a direct correlation between consumer satisfaction and site performance.


The study, released by Akamai Technologies, shared that site performance is critical, travellers expect quick page load times for travel websites, and that active loyalty programme members are more likely to have certain key negative reactions to technical issues.


Key findings from the study include:


  • Three second rule - 57 percent of online shoppers will wait three seconds or less before abandoning the site
  • Generation Y and younger travelers are less patient than older travelers when it comes to page load times. 65 percent of 18-24 year olds expect a site to load in two seconds or less
  • A third of travelers would be less likely to visit a site after experiencing technical problems like slowness or errors on the page. Business travelers are slightly more likely to have a negative reaction
  • Loyalty is not forgiveness - Active loyalty programme members are more likely than other travelers to indicate that they would not likely be influenced at all by technical glitches at 34 percent. However, the remaining 66 percent are actually more likely than others to have strong negative reactions.
  • Travelers tend to be multi-taskers - 59 percent of consumers do something else when waiting for a travel website to load. Nearly one in five (19 percent) open another travel site in a new window when made to wait.
  • Hidden fees may cost you - 43 percent of online shoppers have abandoned a booking because the final product price and/or fees were higher than they were willing to pay
  • Findings reveal that many travelers are guided by their previous experiences with a particular website, and for just over a third of consumers (34 percent), a technical glitch will lower their likelihood to visit a site again.


Business travelers and loyalty programme members are less tolerant of technical problems, and are slightly more likely to have a negative reaction to them.


As with page loading times, the study finds significant differences when looking at results by different age groups. Younger travelers are more likely to engage in other activities - with 56 percent of 18-24 year olds waiting for loading compared to 77 percent of seniors. These results suggest that a poorly or slow-performing travel site can drive valuable shoppers away.


The key takeaway from this study is that functionality, speed and usability standards for travel sites are moving forward, said Pedro Santos, chief strategist for eCommerce, Akamai.


The study is based on the feedback of 2,763 United States-based travelers about the status of their current online expectations and key elements of the online consumer experience.





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