In travel, the digital customer journey is among the longest and most complicated of any online business. Travel websites face huge pressure as they endeavour to juggle the high expectations of their customers with the complex systems needed to deliver personalised information on demand.
The latest white paper from Travel Forward is worth a read, as it drills down into the challenges facing travel when it comes to integrating old and new technologies, including the risks and rewards that are part and parcel of investing in innovation.
Abandonment rates & diminishing returns
According to marketing tech company Ve Global, travel booking abandonment rates are running at almost 93% and the percentage of consumers completing the online booking process are much lower for mobile devices compared to desktop. A major concern for travel companies spending large sums on marketing to attract people to their websites, only to lose them during the booking process.
In part these high levels of abandonment are due to shoppers browsing for the best bargains but for travel more than any other sector, the lengthy browsing process – with multiple site visits before committing to purchase – compounds the problem. Throughout the process, consumers are looking for a fast, error-free and consistent performance, which is why it’s important to deliver a reliable user experience (UX) across multiple platforms: not the easiest of tasks on complex websites, especially at peak periods.
What’s going wrong – and why?
High abandonment rates and low conversions are exacerbated by slow, error-prone pages which not only prevent bookings but often send holidaymakers to competitors’ sites. Because performance is dependant on a variety of third parties and multiple APIs that deliver access to reservations, flights – and even the weather forecast – your UX will only ever be as good as the weakest link in the chain. Your performance could also be under pressure because you’re handling more traffic, increasing numbers of mobile users or as a result of growing dependence on third-parties.
All of which can be mitigated by intelligent load testing and performance monitoring, especially in advance of peak periods.
Safety in numbers
At thinkTribe, we help to spread the load, providing managed performance monitoring and load-testing services that simulate real customer journeys to give your tech team all the information they need to intercept and resolve performance issues before they become a problem. With thinkTribe you can test core functionality by following in your customers’ footsteps, accurately replicate your traffic profile using previous analytics and projections, load test critical APIs and use real browser monitoring to get closer to the UX during peak periods.