J.D. Power: Declining Customer Satisfaction of Independent Travel Web Sites

Amid increasing costs and decreasing levels of customer satisfaction across various aspects of the travel industry, customer satisfaction with independent travel Web sites is also experiences a decline, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2007 Independent Travel Web Site Satisfaction (ITWS) Study recently released.

The study finds that overall customer satisfaction with independent travel Web sites has decreased 8 points in the past year, from 810 on a 1,000-point scale in 2006 to 802 in 2007. For a second consecutive year, Hotwire.com ranks highest among independent travel Web sites in satisfying customers who book their reservations online, performing particularly well in competitiveness of pricing and ease of navigation.

Travelocity.com and Expedia.com, respectively, follow in the rankings. Study results also include the following findings:

• The accuracy of reservations made on independent travel Web sites has improved slightly since 2006. In 2007, 95 percent of reservations were reported as error-free, compared with 94 percent the previous year.

• The study also finds that nearly one-half (49 percent) of all travel-related reservations in 2007 were booked on the Web, increasing from 46 percent in 2005.

• Across the industry, independent travel Web sites overall receive their lowest marks for appearance/design of Web site.

• Generation X and Y travelers are more likely to book a reservation on price-focused Web sites, such as Priceline.com and Hotwire.com compared with Baby Boomers and Pre-Boomers.

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