The annual HEDNA (Hotel Electronic Distribution Network Association) conference was held last week in Phoenix, Arizona. Attendees found that one of the top challenges was information overload.
Henry Harteveldt, VP and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research gave the Kickoff keynote and was pretty harsh on the industry as a whole. SOme statistics that he threw out were:
- 43 per cent of those surveyed by Forrester believe travel Websites shopping experiences have become less useful
- 15 per cent feel the Internet doesn’t help them save money
- 11 per cent of US online leisure hotel guests say it’s more difficult to shop for travel online now than when they started.
- 47 per cent of travelers are happy to fill out user profile forms, BUT more than half of those travelers say they’re not happy with the benefits received.
- 21 per cent feel they can find the best travel information using offline resources
So what can the travel industry do to bring back the joy of online booking? Think Relevancy and Usability.
Harteveldt advises that “we need to make online booking easier, be clear instead of confusing, reflect customer preferences, do a better job providing content and make it easier for guests to reach us” and vice versa. “We need to meet travelers on their terms, with tools that matter, to (re-)engage them,” Harteveldt says.