SAN FRANCISCO, July 26, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Lucidworks, the leading search solutions provider, surveyed consumers in the US and UK who travel for leisure at least once a year to understand how brand loyalty, budget and booking options influence vacation planning. The investigation revealed a landscape of cost-conscious travellers, many of whom seek to consolidate sites for booking, despite their loyalty to hotel groups, airlines and cruise lines. The search bar reigns supreme in the digital experience, and travelers are looking to book accommodation and activities on as few sites as possible.
Travelers would ditch brand loyalty for £100 savings
When asked the most common reason they would book outside of loyalty, 58% of respondents cited price. The majority of travelers said that a price difference of as little as £100 between their loyalty brand and another brand would encourage them to book with the other brand. Even the majority of people who said their travel persona was ‘luxury lover’ will still book outside of loyalty if the price difference reaches £100.
Nearly 20% of respondents drew a hard line and said cost rules everything and would never book the more expensive, brand-loyal option. The survey found that brand familiarity and the ability to earn points are the two most common reasons travelers would consider a slightly more expensive, brand-loyal choice.
Aggregate booking sites outpace branded sites
The survey found that 56% of travelers prefer the simplicity of booking everything on as few sites as possible (eg restaurants, hotels, activities, flights, rental car, etc.). Those booking flights and cruises were evenly split in their preference for using a global site over going directly to a brand’s website. Those booking hotel rooms were slightly more likely to book on a site like Expedia or Kayak, with 53% preferring to book on a global site.
Knowing what to book is only half the battle. 24% said the lack of additional activity recommendations was one of the most common frustrations in the booking experience. Aggregated review sites like Trip Advisor and Yelp were respondents’ preferred resource for research and booking.
Search is the most used feature on travel and hospitality websites
Sites should track which parts of the site users are navigating to and measure performance to prioritize digital experience improvements. The survey found that the most commonly used feature on a travel and hospitality website is the search bar. 67% say they use the search field when browsing and booking. Unfortunately, a third of respondents said poor search results are one of the most common reasons they are frustrated with the online booking experience.
However, if issues arise during travel, consumers will always opt for human contact over digital support. Urgent issues drive more customers to call: 49% pick up the phone and call customer service when a problem arises. It’s a signal that brands need to connect all channels to support their customers as effectively as possible.
Other key findings from the survey include:
- Loyalty was stronger among respondents aged 18 to 34. The majority identified which airlines they were loyal to, with only around 20% saying they are not loyal to any airline, compared to more than a third of respondents aged 34 and over.
- Travelers are more than three times more likely to opt for a hotel room when traveling compared to an Airbnb or VRBO, with the biggest draw being hotel amenities, including room service, housekeeping, on-site restaurants, etc.
- Nearly 45% of travelers like to do their own web research and book across multiple sites so they can customize each option and price.
- More than half of survey respondents say the most common reason they are frustrated with online booking is getting stuck when availability doesn’t match and a website doesn’t offer recommendations additional.
The survey was conducted in June this year and was limited to respondents who travel for pleasure at least once a year. Respondents are located in the United States and the United Kingdom. Download the full survey report today.
Lucidworks believes that the core of a great digital experience begins with search and navigation.
Lucidworks captures user behavior and uses machine learning to connect people to the products, content, and information they need. The world’s biggest brands, including Lenovo, Red Hat, Reddit, and Cisco Systems, rely on Lucidworks’ suite of products to power commerce, customer service, and workplace apps that delight customers and empower employees . Learn more about Lucidworks.com.