Online travel companies are missing out on bookings and actively encouraging users to visit rival websites, according to web usability consultancy Webcredible.
A study of over 25 travel websites reveals that hidden charges, cumbersome search functions and booking forms that are hard to find are among the top mistakes made by some of the UK's biggest online travel agencies.
In a new report launched today, Webcredible provides unique insights into the common errors made by online travel companies and reveals the main reasons why holiday-makers might click away from a travel website. These include:
Hitting them with extra taxes and charges at the checkout
Not allowing them to be flexible with their dates
Not using 'print-friendly' page layouts
Not promoting competitive prices on the homepage
The Webcredible report also provides practical advice on simple, inexpensive changes that travel companies can make to their websites to encourage repeat visits and dramatically increase conversion rates by as much as 100 per cent.
'The travel sector experiences one of the highest levels of comparison shopping online, with a massive one in four visits to travel websites coming from another site in the same category,' said Trenton Moss, director of Webcredible. 'Users are unlikely to hang around for long if they can't find what they're looking for, but by making a number of easy-to-implement changes online travel companies can significantly improve the satisfaction of their website visitors, ultimately leading to increased bookings.'
Webcredible has compiled the Online Travel Sector Usability Report following user testing and expert reviews of more than 25 travel websites in June and July 2006. The report is available to download from the Webcredible website.
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