PhoCusWright Study Cites Need for Speed in Travel Websites

A PhoCusWright study commissioned by Akamai Technologies, Inc. found that travelers expect quick page load times for travel websites, and that active loyalty program members are more likely to have certain key negative reactions to technical issues. The study found that 57 percent of online shoppers will wait three seconds or less before abandoning the site. Younger travelers are less patient. Generation Y and younger travelers are less patient than older travelers when it comes to page load times. Sixty-five percent of 18 to 24 year olds expect a site to load in two seconds or less. A third of travelers would be less likely to visit a site after experiencing technical problems like slowness or errors on the page. Business travelers are slightly more likely to have a negative reaction. Travelers tend to be multi-taskers, with 59 percent of consumers doing something else when waiting for a travel website to load. Nearly one in five (19 percent) open another travel site in a new window when made to wait. Hidden fees may cost you, as 43 percent of online shoppers have abandoned a booking because the final product price and/or fees were higher than they were willing to pay.

The study found that that many travelers are guided by their previous experiences with a particular website, and for just over a third of consumers (34 percent), a technical glitch will lower their likelihood to visit a site again. Business travelers and loyalty program members are less tolerant of technical problems, and are slightly more likely to have a negative reaction to them. Research shows that these groups of online shoppers are also the most valuable customers for online travel sites. Thus, the stakes for site performance and streamlined, transparent transactions are even higher for companies targeting these segments.

In addition, findings state that consumers not only have varying patience levels, they also react to waiting differently. As with page loading times, the study finds significant differences when looking at results by different age groups. Younger travelers are more likely to engage in other activities, with 56 percent of 18 to 24 year olds waiting for loading compared to 77 percent of seniors. These results suggest that a poorly or slow-performing travel site can drive valuable shoppers away. One of the additional industry trends that PhoCusWright discovered during this project is that smartphone adoption among travelers will increase significantly in the next few years and will cross the halfway point among travelers in 2010. Consumers are still in the early stages of mobile usage for travel with 6 percent who uses mobile apps or sites when shopping for travel. For more information, visit

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