Online travel slowdown?

In recent weeks we have seen many reports on the prospects of online travel. On one hand, a Forrester report points to the decline in the # of travelers using the Internet to research and book travel. Another report from Worldhotels survey and reported by Travelmole has positive indicators for the hotel market.

Coming back to the Forrester report, it points to the increasing frustration of customers with a poor online experience and postpurchase dissatisfaction. People want to get their results faster and complete their transactions sooner.

1) Customers are increasingly getting into the best deal or nothing else mindset, thus increasing the time spent on researching the lowest-price offer. They don’t like to settle for less.
2) In such circumstances, meta-search engines that combine the best prices with the best range of activities or amenities are poised to take the lead. A traveler is either looking for the lowest best price or the best possible experience. Usually, these are not mutually compatible goals!
3) They are also expecting great customer service which has more or less gone away with the Internet. Toll-free #s and the live personal touch are in. As customers spend more, they expect more. How many customers like to fill out a complaint via an online form?!
4) With destinations becoming overcrowded and expensive, traveling has become a stressful experience. People expect atleast the booking part to be smooth and seamless! Enter the friendly neighborhood travel agent whose business is suddenly looking up!
5) More and more travel sites are offering too much in the hopes of involving the visitor enough to get a booking! Perhaps, travel sites could offer an instant comparison of best available web rates and best ratings to facilitate a faster decision.

Published by

Vijay Dandapani

Co-founder and president of a New York based hotel company for 24 years. Grew the firm to five hotels in Manhattan and also developed a greenfield project at MacArthur airport, New York. Speaker at numerous prestigious forums including Economy Hotels World Asia, Lodging Conference, NYU, Columbia University Real Estate Roundtable, Baruch College's Zicklin School and ALIS. President and ceo of New York City Hotel Association since January 2017.