Online price comparison and review sites make travel a buyer’s market
30 April 2015
- 59% of holidaymakers compare prices online as consumers keep recessionary behaviour
- Holidaymakers are sharing experiences and influencing each other, as 42% use review sites
- A third of consumers used two or more devices when researching their holiday
Travel has changed from being a seller’s to a buyer’s market, according to a new report by Deloitte, the business advisory firm, which shows 59% of consumers are now using the internet to compare prices.
Alistair Pritchard, UK lead partner for travel at Deloitte, said: “Our research shows price is the main factor driving holiday booking decisions, and travel comparison sites have been instrumental. These sites have grown rapidly and their usage is high, which can be put down to the deal-hunting behaviour consumers learned during the recession. However, while consumer confidence and real wages are improving, the desire to get the best deal is still set in the mind of the holidaymaker.
“The research also shows that if a consumer booked their last holiday using a price comparison site they are the least likely to be influenced by a company’s reputation and 30% more likely than average to base decisions on price.”
Deloitte’s Travel Consumer 2015 report analysed data from a survey of 40,000 holidaymakers by the British Travel Awards. It found 42% used review sites when planning their holiday, compared to 31% using travel company websites and 21% internet only travel agents. Of those planning with review sites, 59% say this was their main influence.
Pritchard said: “The travel industry plays a less influential role now, and holidaymakers are more likely to be influenced by each other than content created by travel businesses. People are moving from being content consumers to content creators. According to our research, a third of holidaymakers have posted a travel-related review to a review site. As the digital divide closes and older people become more active online this is only going to increase. Our research shows that baby boomers are almost as likely as millennials to view or be influenced by these sites, but are actually more likely to write a review.
“One way for travel companies to adapt to this is to create a recommendation culture, as word-of-mouth marketing is relatively low-cost and self-perpetuating, and can help reduce customer acquisition costs.”
Deloitte’s research also suggests travel companies must adapt to a fragmented digital channel, as a third of consumers used two or more digital devices when researching their holiday.
Pritchard explained: “Increasingly consumers are using their smartphones and tablets for research, then switching to their desktop or laptop to book. They could also be using multiple apps and websites on these devices. This can have a negative impact on sales conversion rates, as a customer that abandons an online basket in a tablet app to book on a laptop appears as two separate consumers. Fragmentation has also made it difficult for travel companies to track consumer activity, making it harder for them to use the potential wealth of data to understand and meet consumer expectations and offer differentiating features like personalisation. All this could result in a poor user experience.
“To allow activity to be tracked across devices and apps, companies should introduce an integrated experience across channels and devices, for instance by offering incentives to encourage users to sign in on every platform.”
The digital revolution and subsequent changes in consumer behaviour have transformed travel. Therefore travel businesses should now be on their own transformation, from a product-centric model to a model based around the perspective of the consumer.
Notes to editors
About this research
The research featured in Travel Consumer 2015 is based on a consumer survey carried out by the British travel Awards, which has been registering public opinion on the performance of UK travel businesses since 2008. Deloitte LLP is the scrutineer for the results of the annual vote.
In addition to the voting form, 40,509 respondents aged 16+ completed Travel Vision, an additional survey of 34 questions conducted between 1 July 2014 and 30 September 2014. The sample is not nationally representative, but represents a broad socioeconomic demographic of holidaymakers.
Please visit Deloitte.com for additional content and services related to the travel, Hospitality & Leisure industry.
Please visit www.britishtravelawards.com for additional information on the British travel Awards.
In this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte LLP, which is among the country's leading professional services firms.
Deloitte LLP is the United Kingdom member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), a UK private company limited by guarantee, whose member firms are legally separate and independent entities. Please see www.deloitte.co.uk/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.
The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.
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