Pricing Is the Strongest Driver of Satisfaction with Independent Travel Websites

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Booking.com Ranks Highest in Overall Satisfaction among Independent Travel Websites

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: 30 November 2012 — 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 ReportSM released today.

"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.

Younger independent travel website consumers (18-24 years of age) value recommendations from others significantly more than do those in any other age group1 and significantly more than the report average. More than one-fourth (27%) of these younger consumers say they selected their travel website due to a recommendation from family, friend or colleague, compared with the report average of 16 percent. Additionally, nearly one-third (32%) of younger consumers say they selected their travel website because of positive reviews of the brand, compared with the report average of 20 percent. Conversely, 81 percent of consumers between the ages of 45 and 54 indicate they selected their primary travel website for the competitiveness of its pricing, significantly higher than the report average of 75 percent and higher than for any other age group. 

Independent Travel Website Satisfaction Rankings

Booking.com ranks highest with a score of 816, performing particularly well in availability of booking/reservation options; ease of booking/reserving; and pricing. Following Booking.com in the rankings are Hotwire.com (813) and Priceline.com (808).

The 2012 Independent Travel Website Satisfaction Report is based on responses from 2,009 consumers who made an online purchase from an independent travel website in the past 12 months.  Invitations to participate in the online survey were sent via email to online panelists in October and November 2012.  J.D. Power and Associates received completed questionnaires through November 16, 2012.

[1] Age groups included in this report are 18-24; 25-34; 35-44; 45-54; and 55+

About J.D. Power and Associates

Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, performance improvement, Web intelligence and customer satisfaction.  The company's quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually.  For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit JDPower.com. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

About The McGraw-Hill Companies

McGraw-Hill announced on September 12, 2011, its intention to separate into two companies: McGraw-Hill Financial, a leading provider of content and analytics to global financial markets, and McGraw-Hill Education, a leading education company focused on digital learning and education services worldwide. McGraw-Hill Financial's leading brands include Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, S&P Capital IQ, S&P Dow Jones Indices, J.D. Power and Associates and Platts, a leader in commodities information. With sales of $6.2 billion in 2011, the Corporation has approximately 23,000 employees across more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com/.

Media Relations Contacts:

Jeff Perlman; Brandware Public Relations; Woodland Hills, Calif.; (818) 598-1115; jperlman@brandwarepr.com
Syvetril Perryman; Westlake Village, Calif.; (805) 418-8103; media.relations@jdpa.com

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No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in this release without the express prior written consent of J.D. Power and Associates. www.jdpower.com/corporate

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