Google Research Reveals Just How Complicated Online Travel Booking Can Be
Photo courtesy of Thinkstock
When it comes to personalizing the online flight booking experience, the airline industry has come up short, according to Google.
During a presentation at the World Low Cost Airlines Congress in London earlier this month, Google's U.K. Industry Manager for Airlines Scott Friesen detailed just how complex the booking process has become for the average traveler, and urged airlines to capitalize on the disruption by working to simplify the process and enhancing mobile platforms.
"The travel journey is incredibly complicated. The way people are booking their travel is even more so," Friesen told the Congress via Skift.
Based on Google's research, the average British traveler makes 32.5 visits to 10.3 different websites covering 4.2 different categories — including travel news, search, advice, aggregator and social media sites — before booking.
Also pointing out that more than half of U.K. consumers (54 percent) begin the travel booking process without a clear-cut destination, Friesen highlighted the opportunities being passed up by airlines that aren't developing content aimed at promoting travel to destinations they service, for example.
"...If you look at many airline websites right now you'll see a one-size-fits-all approach," Friesen said.
Doug Gollan of Travel Market Report points out that the growing complications pertaining to online and mobile travel booking have coincided with the increasing popularity of travel agents.
Citing MMGY research, TMR reported in June that the percentage of travelers booking through travel agents rather than online travel agencies has risen in each of the past four years.
"Every day I hear stories about consumers spending a half hour or more on the phone trying to get something done that a good travel agent can do in minutes," Smartflyer Founder and CEO Michael Holtz told TMR.
Noting that time often equals money, McCabe Worldwide Travel's Anne Scully told TMR that Google's research is "a good example of why it makes sense to use a good travel agent."
With more and more travelers searching for flights and other travel services on their smart phones — 35 percent of consumers in the U.K. and as many as 80 percent of consumers in Asia, according to figures from Lufthansa via Skift — airlines' ability to develop user-friendly and personalized mobile platforms will likely have a huge impact on the travel booking experience.
For more Airlines & Airports News
More by Patrick Clarke
Get Travel Deals and Travel News
Recent Travel Opinions