Being user-friendly and compatibility with travel policy are the top two deciding factors for buyers when choosing an online booking tool (OBT), with cost only ranking as the fourth most important consideration.
This was one of the main findings in a survey of 150 travel buyers, which forms part of BTN Europe’s 2022 Essential Guide to Online Booking Tools.
When asked why they chose their current OBT, 65 per cent of buyers said it was user-friendliness, ahead of being compatible with travel policy (55 per cent) and the ability to customise the tool with their own branding and messaging (52 per cent). Cost was in fourth place at 45 per cent.
The survey found that most buyers were either satisfied or very satisfied with their current OBT (74 per cent), while only 8.5 per cent were either unsatisfied or totally unsatisfied.
When it comes to travel content, most buyers say their OBT provides comprehensive or very comprehensive content for air (79 per cent) and accommodation (76 per cent).
But this figure falls to just over 50 per cent of buyers for rail, which points to the current fragmentation in European rail, both across national borders and even within the same country.
There’s also a mixed picture when it comes to NDC content, with 54 per cent saying it is comprehensive or very comprehensive on their OBT, while nearly a third (31 per cent) say it is limited or very limited.
Just over half of buyers (53 per cent) said they did not pay any set-up fees when implementing their chosen OBT, while 43 per cent said there were ongoing fixed costs related to using their tool, such as maintenance fees or training costs.
As for the cost of making a booking, the majority of buyers (68 per cent) paid a flat fee per transaction, with the others facing another form of booking fee and only seven per cent having no booking fee at all.
A significant proportion of buyers also said improvement was needed in areas such as their OBT being more responsive to change requests and offering better training.
Read BTN Europe’s 2022 Essential Guide to Online Booking Tools