Akamai Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ:AKAM) powers 8 of the top 15 airlines and 8 of the top 10 hotels, helping them accelerate page response times. Akamai is, naturally, concerned with what travelers expect and what they get when they visit a travel website.
To find out, they commissioned PhoCusWright to conduct a study on consumer response to travel site performance. Highights from the study:-
Loading time – 57% of online shoppers will wait 3 seconds or less before abandoning the site.
Multi-tasking - One in five (19%) travelers open another travel site in a new window when made to wait.
Glitches - A full third of travelers won’t be coming back if a site has technical issues and errors.
Hidden Fees – 43% of online shoppers abandon a booking because of fees added on to what they were expecting to pay.
A segment-wise breakup shows that lodging sites perform much better (63% satisfied shoppers) as compared to air (58%). Cruise sites do even better than lodging, with 67% of cruise shoppers expressing satisfaction.
When respondents were asked why they did not complete online travel bookings that they intended to make, the most common reason (43%) was hidden fees. The OTAs are more likely (54%) to suffer from abandonment over hidden fees, as opposed to non-OTA shoppers (37%).
26% cited an unwillingness to share personal information as a reason for abandoning a travel booking, while 15% gave up on account of poor usability and confusing check-outs.
The consumer response to travel site performance also changes depending on the type of traveler. The study indicates that business travelers, loyalty program members and younger travelers all have different reactions and thresholds for website issues, but all are more likely to expect better performance from a travel website than individual travelers.
Carroll Rheem, Director, Research, PhoCusWright, says that “travelers have an inherent penchant for intensive shopping because travel is not an everyday purchase – it’s expensive and experiential. Therefore, travel companies that do not invest in speed and reliability essentially drive customers to their competitors.”
The numbers back it up – If your site is loading slow, you lose the attention of one in five (19%) visitors to a competitor while your site loads in the background. 7% won’t even give you that chance, and will simply close your window. That’s a full 26% that you might never see again.
Even worse, 59% of travelers will switch over to non-travel sites while your site loads, which means you’re not only costing yourself, but also the travel industry in general.
Consumer Response to Travel Site Performance – Download