‘Staycation’ Websites Continue to Lead the Etravel Benchmark, Marking an Entire Year at the Top of the Table

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The latest eTravel Benchmark results from eDigitalResearch show that holiday camps and self catering, or ‘staycation’ sites, have continued their reign at the top of the overall league tables, as spending cuts and issues in the Eurozone continue to dominate the UK headlines.

The results show that Center Parcs topped the overall league table of 52 companies for the first time with a score of 84.5%. Respondents particularly liked the sites appealing and inviting homepage, and rated the initial research, navigation and search sections of the customer journey very highly. Expedia, Keycamp, Cottages4you, and Thomas Cook all complete the Top 5.

This latest study marks one year that ‘staycation’ websites have dominated the eTravel Benchmark league tables. Holiday camp site Keycamp first topped the study in July 2011 with a top score of 82.9%. Since then, holiday camps and self catering websites have continued to outperform their international travel rivals, reaching some of the benchmark’s highest levels of satisfaction in over two years, often thanks to their comprehensive search tools and detailed information.

For the first time, eDigitalResearch also measured travel companies performance across their app channels, as well as their online touchpoints. Results show that apps often outperform their traditional established websites, especially those offering the same functionality across all of their online and mobile customer channels.

Derek Eccleston, Head of Research at eDigitalResearch, comments, “Previous eDigitalResearch results have shown that app users are often more engaged with brands, rather than just online or mobile site customers. Our latest eTravel Benchmark results would suggest that this is particularly true in the travel industry and therefore it is vital that brands develop their mobile channels in line with their online offering and provide mobile customers with the ability to do everything they can do on a desktop site, like booking a holiday or checking in online, on a smartphone”.

Holiday agent Thomas Cook made the biggest improvement in the benchmark, moving up an impressive 37 places since the last study in March 2012, thanks to an improvement across the customer journey, especially their customer contact channels. Respondents particularly liked the online live help section, commenting on how helpful and responsive representatives were.

Covering over 50 sites, the eTravel Benchmark consistently highlights the poor level of telephone and email contact experienced by customers, often dragging down overall customer experience. However, for this study, eDigitalResearch also measured the effectiveness of live help and support, as well as traditional customer contact, and found that those sites that made some of the biggest improvements in the study, often did so because of their swift and effective online support. As a relatively new feature not yet adopted by most brands, the addition of Live Help channel, when delivered well, can significantly improve the users experience.

For a copy of the eTravel Benchmark results, including the full league tables and analysis, please complete the following short registration survey:
https://ecustomeropinions.com/survey/survey.php?sid=851160955.

ENDS

For more information please contact Liana Vickery on liana.vickery@edigitalresearch.com or call +44(0)1489 772920.

eTravelBenchmark methodology
An eMysteryShopper survey was conducted to compare the customer journey of 54 UK travel websites and apps 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 and June 2012. The benchmark measures included:

  •     First Impressions (Homepage)
  •     Initial Research
  •     Search
  •     Search Results
  •     Booking Process
  •     Customer Support

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.

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Lisa Bonczyk
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