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What travelers want: four key findings from our Global Traveler Expectations report

Feb 17, 2020

Travelers are demanding. That's not just what we think – it's what they told us. We wanted to understand what travelers expect of providers today, so we commissioned a survey of 25,000 respondents from 35 countries around the world. The insights revealed a complex picture of traveler expectations across different territories and demographics, but several common themes emerged. Here are four key findings from our report, Global Traveler Expectations: How to deliver on what travelers really want.

Better, always available customer service support

We asked respondents to rate 11 different factors for their importance in having a positive booking experience. The number one factor across different territories and different types of traveler was clear: easily contactable and responsive customer support. Frequent travelers are the most likely to prize easily contactable and responsive customer support (35% rated the factor 10 out of 10 for importance in having a positive travel booking experience). This was only slightly more than the overall figure – 33% of all respondents globally rated this as highly important.

Most significantly, while this was most important factor overall, it also had the greatest disparity between the importance travelers placed on it and their assessment of its delivery.

While 33% of travelers globally rated easily contactable and responsive customer support as highly important, 24% rated their most recent provider's delivery as excellent

Clearer and more competitive pricing

Competitive pricing was joint second overall in importance for having a positive booking experience. We also surveyed travelers on what they considered important for having a positive payment experience. The verdict was conclusive: clear pricing came out on top by a huge margin, with 48% of travelers globally rating it as 10 out 10 for importance.

For context, the ability to pay in their country's currency was next with 31%. And yet, travelers rated clarity of pricing as well out of step with their expectations – just 30% rated its delivery as excellent.

Ease of website navigation

This was particularly prized by two groups. Firstly, there was a clear geographical split: in Africa (35%), the Middle East (30%), and APAC (27%), ease of website navigation is the second-highest-ranked factor in having a positive booking experience, while 37% of respondents in Latin America valued it (even) highly. This significantly outstripped Europe (22%) and North America (23%).

Meanwhile, the most frequent travelers (those who book 10 trips or more per year) were most likely to value ease of navigation (34%). With plenty of experience of booking on different platforms, these travelers know what good looks like, and are less likely to tolerate hindrances and friction in their path to booking.

An improved booking process

While the results showed that booking behavior is fragmented across different territories, there were common frustrations that pointed toward a global need to reduce friction in booking and payment processes.

In particular, the most frequent travelers uniformly expect most from the booking process. More respondents in this demographic placed high importance on every factor than the global average when asked "How important are each of the following to you in having a positive travel booking experience?" It's a common-sense conclusion that those most experienced in booking travel should have the highest expectations, but the finding underlines that travel businesses have work to do in keeping up with their highest-value travelers (see Figure 2 and 3 below).

For the full results of our survey along with insights and analysis into traveler expectations across the world, and recommendations on how to meet them, download the report: Global Traveler Expectations: How to deliver on what travelers really want.