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Exclusive preview of new web report

Tonight we hosted an exclusive preview event of the first benchmarking report of travel industry websites.

The research was undertaken by a nifty company called eDigitalResearch that has more than a decade of experience of reviewing, testing and benchmarking consumer retailers' websites from Top Shop to ASOS. They've now brought that experience to bear on the travel sector and it makes fascinating reading. While people checking shopping sites might look at around 5 or so sites before making a purchase, consumers testing travel sites will bounce between more than 20 before making their final decision, so the travel sector really needs to be best of breed to keep and attract online shoppers.

eDigitalResearch's initial travel benchmarking study undertook consumer tests of 18 airline, ferry and cruise websites. When they assessed whether those sites would be recommended through word of mouth they found eight travel companies ranked "above average" but the 18 sites together achieved a score of +5.   Compared to other recent eDigitalResearch benchmarking studies that scored retail at +27, finance at +18 and car manufacturing at +7, this initial snapshot of some travel brands show that online travel sector is clearly lagging behind.

Ferry companies performed particularly well in consumer testing, but airlines were notably let down by poor first impressions and disappointing customer service. Derek Eccleston, head of research at eDigitalResearch went as far as to say "In a sector whose customers are particularly promiscuous, failing to perform well across the board is more than a missed opportunity, it's commercial suicide. But it's not all doom and gloom.  The survey shows the recipe for a successful site is a simple one.  What customers want is a clear step-by-step process.  They want a site that is easy to purchase from but at the same time that has the inspirational 'wow' factor to keep them engaged.  Add to that transparent pricing, great customer service, and of course a great trip and you've cracked it."

Based on overall performance, the 18 websites were ranked as follows
P&O Ferries 86.1%
StenaLine 84.9%
Princess Cruises 84.7%
Thomson Flights 84.3%
P&O Cruises 84.1%
Brittany Ferries 83.3%
British Airways 81.8%
SeaFrance 81.3%
Virgin Atlantic 79.6%
Royal Caribbean Cruises 79.4%
easyJet 78.0%
Cunard 77.3%
Fred Olsen Cruises 77.0%
Ryanair 76.9%
bmibaby 76.3%
Celebrity Cruises 75.0%
Monarch 74.0%
Eurotunnel 68.2%

The eTravel Benchmark survey will be repeated in September and aims to create a benchmarking study to show how the online travel sector develops over time. If you'd like to be involved in future reports, or would like to find out more then do drop me a line.

For the full presentation then please visit:

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