News for the Hospitality Executive
The Websites that Focus on Timeliness, Relevance and
Ease of Use Will Continue to Gain Market Share
15, 2009 - Travel companies are focusing on a couple of areas when it comes
to enhancing the quality of the customers' web experience.
Companies are keeping travel deals fresh and up-to-date in real time and available to serve those fresh deals to satisfy the web page download times demanded by consumers. Plus, the emphasis is also on offering advanced user interface features to aid consumers in selecting, identifying and filtering travel deals, but without impacting the page download time.
On how such initiatives have progressed from consumer's perspective, Dan Miller, director - Email Programs, Cheapflights, says it's critical that both front- and back-end technologies deliver an optimal experience for consumers looking to book online travel.
"The websites that focus on timeliness, relevance and ease of use will continue to gain market share. These sites are obviously doing a good job because we're seeing a consumer shift from offline to online travel bookings. If the economy continues to pose challenges for consumers, they will look for travel deals to get the most from their discretionary income," said Miller, who is scheduled to speak during CRM and Loyalty Strategies for Travel USA 2009 Conference, to be held on 4-5 March in March this year.
According to specialists, the technology underpins the gathering and delivery of travel deals to consumers. It is important for the systems architecture and implementation to be clean and, on one side be focused on gathering and maintaining fresh travel deals and content efficiently, independently of the other side which must be structured to retrieve and deliver travel deals and content rapidly.
Layered on this is the website architecture that must provide consumers with an innovative and intuitive user Interface that evolves with features to support the increasing demands of consumers. It is important to have and maintain this clear and delineated distinction so that the systems can be independently tuned for responsiveness, collectively deliver web pages in milliseconds, with the ability to scale as the business grows.
By collecting information on user behaviour, demographics and lifestyle information, users can be matched with preferred travel suppliers so that they are receiving more relevant content via email, RSS feeds and through personalised site content.
"Mapping both consumers' implicit and explicit behaviour to relevant travel content is the key to inspiring return visits and loyalty. The websites that understand the power of relevance will make this a top priority in 2009 and beyond. Personalisation analytics not only allow online travel sites to map relevant deals to consumers; this data is valuable to make better internal decisions on sales and marketing cycles," said Miller, who is scheduled to be a part of `How to Use Your Website as a Retention Tool?' session during the conference.
Overall personalisation efforts and cross-selling initiatives are becoming more targeted and seamless across all touch points – email, onsite, partner ads, call center and mobile.
On the role of the website capturing customer data to feed CRM initiatives and accordingly offering customised communication and offerings via various channels, Miller said, "The website is just one spoke in the 360-degree personalisation process. Email analytics mapped to site analytics help create a more robust picture of consumer activity. Tracking consumer activity on the website can make emails much more relevant; equally, how a consumer engages in an email can help drive a more personalised site experience."
On plans for this year, Miller said, "From an email perspective, we
are focused on list quality, credibility and relevance. If we can deliver
the best travel deals on the planet to our email subscribers on time and
with relevance, we'll have a good year."