It used to be relatively straightforward to predict annual online spending habits in the travel industry.
January and July would form two travel “peaks”, with spending rising as holidaymakers book time off for the following summer or winter.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the events of this year have made 2016 a different story.
First Brexit, then Trump. These events took the world by surprise, with fluctuations in markets and consequently consumer confidence.
Online spending habits, which for the most part have been fairly predictable, have been increasingly erratic and, in the online travel industry, ever-present security threats across Europe have acted as a constant dampener.
It’s important to remember that it’s not all negative, and that turbulent markets create opportunities.
Data collected by ContentSquare from numerous European online travel agents (OTAs) suggest that more continental European travellers are looking to Britain for holidays in the wake of a weaker pound, with the average value of purchases to UK destinations climbing by 38% in the weeks after the Brexit referendum.
It’s important, therefore, for travel brands to fully capitalise on the website visits that they do receive.
Travel is a highly considered purchase, and the experience that your users have on your website (UX), matters more than in other industries.
The issue is that many travel brands are still making common UX errors, which, in this uncertain environment, could mean the difference between booking and just another abandoned holiday cart.
The “how” and “why”
Fundamentally, the key here is for travel companies to go beyond traditional website analytics to understand how and why customers are behaving in a certain way on their website.
It’s difficult to decode emotive purchases at the best of times, and in an increasingly uncertain world, it’s even harder to predict.
Ensuring that easy-to-understand insight into online user behaviour is shared throughout the business, and not just IT, will mean the entire team is focused on making the customer journey and experience as clear and seamless as possible.