According to Global Reviews International Booking (Flights) Industry Digital Marketing & Sales Effectiveness Report, Flight Centre’s website offers consumers the best experience when considering booking an international flight. Qantas was second, followed by Hello World and Virgin Australia.
The four specific stages of consideration are initial engagement; introducing options; evaluating options; and facilitating decisions.
The benchmark tracks the customers’ journey, across key brands in the travel sector, from their initial engagement with the website, when they are locating and considering the flights, through to completing the booking form.
When splitting the researched brands between airlines and aggregators, the latter performed worse in the first three stages of consideration, but outperformed airlines in facilitating decisions.
However, aggregators stumbled heavily again at point of purchase, as 72% of consumers made final bookings elsewhere. Almost half (45%) would move to the airlines’ site to book and 27% would use offline methods such
as the phone or going into a travel agent branch.
“Despite aggregators playing such a crucial role in aiding consumer flight selection and offering indicative airline prices, sales are not being converted.
There is a lack of belief that aggregators offer the best price,” said Jane Robertson, Commercial Director.
Of those consumers who switch from aggregator to the airline site to book, two-thirds do so, believing direct access offers the best deal. Without surprise, the top reason for considering a site to book through is because they had the best prices/offers.
This search for the best price was also reflected in our studies where, seven in 10 would use between 3-5 websites when researching international flights.
Even though 83% of people use aggregators, they are not considered a ‘one-stop-shop’ for booking flights by consumers, as is often self-proclaimed.
Once consumers conducted their initial research, a shortlist of brands was compiled for further consideration. Behind price, the leading reason for shortlisting a site, the next top reasons for shortlisting a particular site(s)
I have used them before (49%)
Their website helped me find flights quickly (47%)
Their flights/offers were easy to understand (41%)
I trust these companies (40%)
“Ensuring compelling deals are offered is vital for aggregators to close the sale rather than losing consumers to the airline. Even if prices cannot be
matched, travellers need to be convinced to remain on the aggregator’s site through stronger ‘why choose us’ messaging,” she said.
On average, airlines averaged 62% in the benchmark area looking at ‘why choose us’ messaging. Comparatively, aggregators scored only 51%.
“The belief of better prices offered directly on airline’s websites combined with superior communication on ‘why choose us’ will continue to pull consumers to the airline site for booking. This messaging on the benefits of booking through an aggregator fundamentally needs to change to win further market share from airlines,” concluded Ms Robertson.