Travel Trends
February 26th, 2013 | Adam Leposa

OTAs lose ground in the battle for guest satisfaction

26 Feb, 2013 By: Adam Leposa

writingConsumer satisfaction with online travel companies has fallen, according to a survey released today, as OTAs face a shifting travel landscape increasingly driven by short-term mobile bookings.

USA Today reports that the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ASCI) shows a 2.6 percent drop in consumer satisfaction with online travel, making it the steepest fall in all of the categories measured by the survey. The decline comes even as satisfaction with e-commerce websites overall has risen by 1.2 percent. This year’s score, a 76, is four points off what the ASCI considers a “solid” score of 80.

While online travel’s ASCI scores have risen 15.2 percent since their first measurement in 2000, the industry’s scores have remained relatively unchanged since 2002, NBC News reports. Since that time ASCI scores have remained within two points of 77.

“There’s been a lack of innovation in the category,” Larry Freed, CEO at ForeSee, which helps produce the ASCI, tells NBC News. “Consumers are saying that the value they’re getting hasn’t kept up with how their expectations are evolving.”

Much of that evolution has been driven by the rise in mobile bookings and the corresponding decrease in booking windows. Another report released today, air travel technology specialist SITA’s “Flying into the Future, “ identifies three major ways in which mobile tech is reshaping travel, according to CNN. SITA expects mobile to account for as much as 50 percent of online air travel bookings by 2017, and social media could become a “major sales channel” for 13 percent of airlines and airports. Near-field communication and Apple’s Passbook can streamline the check-in and boarding process, and mobile alerts will become an increasingly important means of accessing travel information.

While SITA’s report focused on air travel, many of its lessons apply to hotels as well. A recent study from Priceline on New Year’s Eve hotel booking shows that 42 percent of all mobile-equipped travelers waited until after 5:00 p.m. local time to book their hotel reservations, often after they arrived in their destination city.

This shrinking booking window presents an opportunity for hotels looking to reach out and engage guests. In a three-part series back in October, Hotel Management took a look at how hotels were using mobile technology to reach out to customers looking for information on their local area and drive bookings. Mobile search presents opportunities for hotel operators to engage guests quickly through targeted ads and content, which can drive both bookings and brand engagement. The full articles are available here:

Mobile marketing: Growing platform drives bookings

Mobile marketing: Marketing on smartphones—it’s faster

Mobile marketing: Measuring mobile ROI means more than just bookings

Topic : online travel agencies, mobile booking, short-term booking
External Source : USA Today, NBC News, CNN

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