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Web frustration driving shoppers to travel agents, finds US report

A new US report claims holidaymakers are increasingly frustrated by the web and more inclined to find a traditional travel agent to book a holiday.


Forrester Research’s report, Using Digital Channels to Calm the Angry Traveler, said 46% of people who book travel online in the US enjoyed using the web for travel planning in 2009 compared with 53% in 2007. In total, 33% of online travel bookers believed travel websites did a good job of presenting holiday choices, down from 39% in 2008.


The US report has implications for the UK market, as British booking trends tend to follow those of the US.


The report, which uses data from the North American Technographics Travel Online Survey of 4,634 adults from February this year, said companies must rethink their approach because they are too focused on revenue online at the expense of engaging customers.


Travellers interested in using offline agencies was up from 23% of travellers last year to 26% this year.


It said: “Travellers – both business and leisure – are frustrated, confused and annoyed. They’re unhappy with the way the channels they’re asked to use are designed and configured.”


An ABTA spokesman said travel companies had made great advances to ensure websites are easy to use, but that traditional agents were often needed for bookings beyond simple flight or accommodation-only transactions online.


He said: “We are not surprised that in America we are starting to see a move towards the help provided by the traditional travel agent, and, as is often the case, where America starts, we follow.”


 


Comments


Got an opinion on this story? These comments come from a post on the Travel Weekly Blog


I blame Apple. They have set the bar SO high in terms of consumer expectation on how things could / should work – that anything else in comparison looks weak.


 


The golden goose (at least for me) is a booking engine that can list the flights by price. If Johnny Airline has a limited amount of seats available for £xyz, I want to be able to click on that price, with it giving me a list of dates when it is available.


 

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