Booking.com ranked first in J.D. Power and Associates 2012 Independent Travel Website Satisfaction Report, released on Nov. 30.
The J.D. Power report ranked independent travel websites based on a 1,000 point scale. The average overall satisfaction was 798. Five websites, including Booking.com, Hotwire.com, Priceline.com, Orbitz.com and Hotels.com, received above average scores of 816, 813, 808, 799 and 798, respectively.
Expedia.com, Travelocity.com, CheapOair.com, CheapTickets.com and Travel.Yahoo.com were also featured on the list with below average scores.
“While other factors certainly affect overall satisfaction, 75% of online travel website consumers indicate price as a primary purchase reason, so there is no denying price greatly impacts the overall website experience,” said Sara Wong Hilton, director at J.D. Power and Associates.
The report finds that consumers visiting independent travel websites most often book flight reservations (61%), followed by hotels (57%), rental cars (28%) and vacation packages (16%). Among these options, satisfaction is highest among consumers who booked a vacation package (831).
Satisfaction is second highest among consumers who book a rental car, who are also the second most-active group of shoppers, visiting their primary travel website an average of 32 times and completing a purchase an average of six times annually. The first most-active group of shoppers visits a primary travel website an average of 43 times annually, completing seven purchases a year on average.
The report measures overall consumer satisfaction on the purchase experience on an independent travel website of a plane ticket, hotel room, rental car or vacation package purchased in the last 12 months. A total of 2,009 consumers participated in the survey.
The report examines seven factors (listed in order of importance):
- competitiveness of pricing
- usefulness of information
- availability of booking/reservation options
- website/online store
- ease of booking/reserving
- competitiveness of sales and promotions
- contact with customer service
The relative importance of customer service in driving overall satisfaction is low, as only 29% of online consumers indicate that they contacted customer service; however, among those who contacted customer service, this becomes the most important factor.