Hotel agents Booking.com and Hotels.com have topped the latest eTravel Multichannel Benchmark results from eDigitalResearch, outperforming the rest of the travel industry across their entire digital travel experience.
The eTravel Multichannel Benchmark uses a profiled group of independent mystery shoppers to assess the entire end-to-end digital customer experience – including websites, mobile sites and apps – for a selection of top global travel brands.
Booking.com’s multichannel digital experience out ranked all other brands for their first impressions search and results, booking process, and design and usability. Surveyors particularly liked the brand’s desktop site and ranked it first in every stage of the customer journey, while Hotels.com’s app was rated top overall.
LateRooms.com, Expedia and ebookers all complete the multichannel top five.
However, hotel agents are unable to match the same user experience across their customer support channels. Hotel brand Best Western topped the customer support part of the customer journey with a score of just 77%, demonstrating a real need for the travel industry to invest in their overall customer service. Brands that scored well in this area did so because of their often prompt reply to queries, as well as helpful and proactive support.
Derek Eccelston, Commercial Director at eDigitalResearch, comments, “People expect the same sort of experience across all brand touch points, and this includes customer support channels. If you get an excellent customer experience when browsing and booking a holiday online, you’ll come to expect the same high level of service when you contact a brand for support.
“However, our results reveal that too often this just is not happening. Instead, brands need to mirror their excellent digital customer experience across all touch points – engaging with support staff will be key to providing a seamless user experience across all customer service journeys”.
The benchmark also found that, like many retailer’s multichannel experience, mobile sites and apps continue to score lower than established desktop sites, suggesting that some brands are still getting to grips with optimising the digital travel experience for a mobile.
However, the results also demonstrate how holiday-makers have now come to expect the same seamless experience across channels. Low-cost airline EasyJet’s website scored particularly well but they were unable to replicate those scores across their other digital channels – hampering their overall multichannel customer experience.
Derek continues, “With a growing number of us researching and booking our holiday’s online, along with travel brands increasingly competing against one another on price and destination, a good user experience is often the only way to differentiate a brand from their nearest rival – the digital customer experience really is key to the future success of travel brands big and small”.
For the eTravel Multichannel Benchmark results, including full league tables, please complete the following short registration survey.