Holiday Camps Offer Best Online Customer Experience

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Holiday camps and self catering websites have topped the latest eTravelBenchmark study with a good performance across the online customer journey, providing potential holiday makers with an overall online package which can be tailored to their needs, desired destination and budget.

The eDigitalResearch results found that ‘staycation’ websites have soared to the top the of the customer satisfaction leagues as people look to book their summer break. Top performing sites across the study were found to be offering customers a dynamic, flexible and interactive online experience, including the ability to share and communicate across social platforms.

Derek Eccelston, Research Director at eDigitalResearch, comments, “Travel websites are beginning to adapt and improve their offering to customers with dynamic and interactive features that can be tailored to an individual’s needs. We are witnessing the MEcommerce revolution, where the consumer is now dictating to brands where, when and how they want to shop and communicate, and it is essential that travel brands develop their websites in line with what consumers are demanding, such as integrating engaging search facilities and communicating across social media sites”.

Recent months have seen travel brands develop their sites to offer the flexibility that consumers these days are demanding and are reflected in the eTravelBenchmark results. Holiday camp site Keycamp took the overall top spot for the first time, with good scores across the customer journey, and in particular the navigation and search areas. Average results across the initial research and search sections have also improved since the last wave to 78% and 81% respectively as consumers embrace these changes.

Holiday camps, online travel agents and online tour operators all scored well overall as shoppers liked the entire package they offered, making the online travel booking experience simple and seamless. In this respect, airlines and hotel agents didn’t score as well, however are introducing interactive search maps and dynamic search filters to help combat the issues and increase overall customer engagement, such as British Airways’ multitude of search facilities.

Customer service still remains the lowest performing area in the study, and is often a key differential for top performing sites. Some shoppers found key customer service information difficult to find and felt positively discouraged from contacting many travel brands. However, the study also highlighted several sites that are introducing innovative solutions to customer service, such as live help facilities that provide immediate reassurance and guidance to customers before a big booking.

Derek continues, “Our eTravelBenchmark results consistently show that customer service remains a poor performing area. However, it is really encouraging to see that some sites are beginning to come up with inventive solutions, such as Live Help facilities as well as opening up customer communication on social media sites to help combat the issue. Holidays are often the big expense of the year for the majority of people and it is essential that they feel they are a valued customer if travel sites want to encourage repeat purchases”.

Download a copy of the eTravelBenchmark study for the full results by completing this short registration survey: https://ecustomeropinions.com/survey/survey.php?sid=647830392. Alternatively, for access to this study, as well as past results, sign up or log into the benchmark area of the website http://www.edigitalresearch.com/benchmarking.

For more information please contact Liana Vickery on liana.vickery(at)egigitalresearch(dot)com or call 01489 772920.

Notes to editors

eTravelBenchmark methodology
An eMysteryShopper survey was conducted to compare the customer journey of 51 UK travel website across several sectors including airlines, holidays and self catering, hotel chains and online travel agents. The fieldwork was carried out using the eMysteryShopper Panel of internet users during May through to June 2011. The benchmark measures included:

o    First Impressions (Homepage)
o    Initial Research
o    Search
o    Search Results
o    Booking Process
o    Customer Service – telephone
o    Customer Service - email

About MEcommerce
MEcommerce refers to consumers now having the power to communicate with brands across a multitude of channels and ensuring that they receive a seamless brand experience across the spectrum, whether that’s online, mobile, in-store, or social networking sites.

About eDigitalResearch
eDigitalResearch are research specialists with expertise in online business. When you have to make critical business decisions – we can give you the precise multichannel insight and informed direction you need. Surveys, panels and communities combine to provide holistic insight which gives clients the confidence and evidence to make crucial decisions on product range, marketing, customer service, supply chain and even basic positioning. For more information please visit http://www.edigitalresearch.com or email info(at)edigitalresearch(dot)com

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Lisa Bonczyk
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