December 03, 2012 now also America’s favorite travel website

Satisfaction with the price paid on a travel website drives high overall satisfaction among consumers with their overall website experience, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 Independent Travel Website Satisfaction Report.

"Reinforcing the correlation between overall satisfaction and satisfaction with pricing, the highest-ranked travel websites in overall satisfaction all have significantly higher price satisfaction scores than the report average," said Sara Wong Hilton, director at J.D. Power and Associates. "While other factors certainly affect overall satisfaction, 75 percent of online travel website consumers indicate price as a primary purchase reason, so there is no denying price greatly impacts the overall website experience."

The report measures consumers' overall satisfaction with their purchase experience on an independent travel website, which consists of a vacation package, flight, hotel or rental car. 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; and contact with customer service. The relative importance of customer service in driving overall satisfaction is low, as only 29 percent of online consumers indicate that they contacted customer service; however, among those who contacted customer service, this becomes the most important factor. Overall satisfaction with independent travel websites averages 798 (on a 1,000-point scale).

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). Notably, consumers who purchase a vacation package are the most active travel website shoppers, visiting their primary travel website an average of 43 times annually and completing a purchase an average of seven times, significantly more than the report average of 20 visits and four purchases per year. 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.

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