Online travel agencies (OTA’s) were extremely innovative in their genesis, but now, their user experience is starting to fall short. As more companies move towards the ecommerce and marketplace model, expectations for best-in-class user experience have also grown.
In a rush to modernize and remain competitive, there are few lessons that OTAs can learn from online giants like Amazon to improve the customer experience.
Simplifying the Checkout to Increase Conversion
Amazon is one of the most relevant brands to millennials in America today by creating one of the stickiest and straightforward checkout processes. Online travel agencies can learn from Amazon’s checkout process by reprioritizing the consumer experience, especially at checkout. Using modern payment solutions that millennials are familiar with rather than antiquated systems will help solidify trust with the millennial audience.
Speaking of trust, hidden fees and any lack of transparency with fees should be avoided. Millennials are scam-wary and will lose trust in services that appear to take advantage of them. Make sure your checkout process clearly spells out any fees and allows a clear opt-out for upsells.
Add Value Beyond Low Prices
Competing on price, especially in the era of Amazon, can feel like a losing battle. OTA’s are all too familiar to this struggle. But one way OTA’s can learn from Amazon’s success (beyond offering competitive prices) is by adding value through bundled experiences and community-driven initiatives. Amazon’s Prime offer appeals to shoppers and encourages them to spend more with the company because it adds so much value that customers realize instantly.
OTA’s can offer similar programs and also build a community around their services by encouraging reviews of experiences and soliciting user-generated content from their audiences. What’s more, by using UGC on websites, OTA’s can expect to see a lift in conversion.
Innovative Discount Systems
Amazon has notably used systems like lowering hotel commission and giving discounts to Prime subscribers to gain a foothold over its competitors. OTAs should consider innovative ways to provide discounts to loyal customers.
This can also be done by establishing partnerships with other online service providers or brands to offer discounts or simply add value. Partnerships and affiliate deals have the ability to drive lower costs and attract more clients to use the services of an OTA. Discounts are popular among young consumers who tend to travel on a budget, which allows them to gain access to more amazing experiences in their selected destinations.
Smart Tools Integration
With Amazon, you can simply ask Alexa to order a product online for you. There are many ways to approach a solution of this nature, but as an OTA develops new tools, it is important to stay abreast of changes in the tech game.
The very use of voice technology is a game-changer that travel agencies will need to get ahead in competing in the online arena, thus accessing a global market. Other online agencies such as Expedia and Booking.com have also integrated the tool into their services to expedite travel booking on-demand.
Consumers these days require convenience and fast-paced feedback, thus integrating a tool like may be beneficial for an OTA.
Analyzing consumer behavior patterns accelerates conversion because clients like to coming back to a site that ‘feel at home’ in that it can predict items they might like. OTAs can imitate this by featuring aspects like suggesting tour sites for visitors who check in to certain places.
Connected Customer Experience for Mobile
Amazon offers a seamless and imaginative customer experience by using tools that create opportunities to boundlessly engage the consumer. The model allows the user to synchronize various devices between desktop and mobile devices. The synchronicity means that the user does not have to repeat information on a different device and is readily available.
OTAs can match this experience by ensuring their mobile apps connect to the desktop experience. This allows the customer to keep coming back because they do not have to deal with a difficult online booking system. The profile-driven approach makes a customer feel comfortable in the service and above all, it is important to deliver on each promise made.
The Future of OTA’s
The online world for travel has transformed immensely, but OTAs could be left if they don’t adapt to changing technology and commercial environments. Above all, Amazon has proved that the marketplace approach can be successful, it just needs to add value to the customer journey.
An OTA can gain an incredible foothold over the industry by applying some of the disruptive principles Amazon has become known for in the tech world.
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