What information do travelers really want when searching for flights online, and what makes them prefer one OTA or meta-search site over another?
As we learned in yesterday's post, travelers using OTAs and travel meta-search engines to search for flights are a fickle bunch, often visiting a number of sites during the planning and booking process. One explanation for this behavior is that they're not finding all of the relevant information they need to make decisions on any one site, so they must gather important pieces across multiple sites.
So what information do travelers find helpful when searching for flights online? Here's what our survey respondents said:
- 79% want price predictions or a price grid
- 33% want flight reviews and amenity details
- 32% want to see on-time flight performance
- 18% want rankings of the best airport hubs to connect through
Travelers would much prefer a one-stop shop for reliable decision-making information to searching multiple sites for flights; it would be a huge time-saver and the data transparency would inspire confidence that the online travel provider wanted to help them make the best ticket purchase decision. Providing reliable, relevant information can foster loyalty among site users wanting to simplify the flight search process.
When travelers we surveyed did show a preference for one online travel provider's site over others, the reasons skewed heavily towards usability:
- 50% said the sites ease-of-use
- 41% said the way flights are sorted and presented
- 30% said the accuracy of flight information
- 29% said the extra, relevant data provided, such as on-time ratings, visibility into fees and
- 13% said the mobile experience
Good news for OTAs and meta-search engines - travelers interviewed by USA Today seemed to prefer their flight search methods and presentation over airline sites'. Travel is an already stressful process - online travel providers shouldn't add to the hassle with a hard-to-use website.
The bottom line: travelers have more choice than ever when it comes to where to search for and book their travel. The key for OTAs and meta-search engines in growing loyalty and business is offering an exceptional customer experience, while providing the information their travelers need at each stage of the trip.
For more insights from our traveler survey, check out the OTA Meta-Search Engine Survey Infographic and download FlightView's free market brief for online travel providers here: