Nobody wants to stand in the way of the booking, but what revenue managers should really be striving for is engagement.

Reducing ‘friction’ in the travel planning process seems to be top of mind.

By ‘friction’, we mean anything that gets in the way of a customer completing his travel-related task (planning or booking) on their website. ‘Friction’ includes slow loading speed, cluttered displays, and too many steps – all of which lead to higher abandonment rates.

Of course, pricing plays a role in reducing friction too and here are four things to think about.

  • Fewer steps (ancillary clutter)

I have never purchased flight insurance but that remains a step in every airline booking I make. Really?  This step is an annoyance, a source of ‘friction’ for me.  Likewise, on some airline sites, the default is packages aka flight + hotel which requires me to override with ‘flight only’. The move of the industry to ancillary has unfortunately tended to add significant ‘friction’ to the booking process.

  • Fewer options 

Rather than offer dozens of choices, less friction would be associated with fewer, more relevant choices. Branded fares are an opportunity to display three to four bundled choices and short-circuit the plethora of combinations of choices that currently exist.

  • Default to speed you through (based on probabilities, most popular) 

Defaults based on probabilities (most popular) would help the majority of travellers. Defaults need to be customer oriented, not necessarily revenue oriented, to minimise ‘friction’.

  • Personalisation 

Ultimately, of course, we seek personalised experiences. Ideally, the choices and the defaults are based on each individual traveller’s specific situation/needs.

  • Frictionless vs engagement

The opposite of ‘friction’ is not necessarily ‘frictionless’. What travellers really seek isn’t necessarily a quick, efficient experience; rather they wish for true engagement. Engagement could mean more time spent on your site!  Friction is a distraction, getting in the way of making the sale. Engagement is the customer actively choosing to spend more time on your site, seeking more services or more value.

For pricing, engagement includes:

  • Full transparency:  Easy, clear descriptions of services and rules need to be easily accessible.  In fact, if it can’t be easily explained, it’s too complicated and you’ve probably lost that customer.  On the other hand, if he can access the relevant information easily, he will potentially dig deeper.

Read the full article at:  Eye for Travel