I’m a #Januarygymjoker (There are many variations on this particular hashtag. Many of which are not appropriate for a blog about eCommerce and customer experience – I will leave you to visit Twitter to explore but, I’m sure you get the gist).

For the last 10 days I have become a walking (slightly hobbling, actually), talking, protein-shake drinking, Women’s Health (Gemma Atkinson edition – naturally) reading, gym addict with all the gear and absolutely no idea – the ultimate January cliché.

I pretend I know what I am doing but, in reality, I am just hopping on the various machines, pressing the buttons and hoping for the best. The good thing is, no one notices because everyone around me are all #Januarygymjokers too! Result!

A fresh start

I love a good New Year’s Resolution and getting fit for 2018 is  just one of the many I have. It’s all the more important because now the festive season has finished and the last shimmering, tinsley morsel has been vacuumed up, it’s time to get thinking about a sunny get away for 2018; come hell or high water, I will be bringing some abs with me on holiday this year!

Get your Travel eCommerce site into shape 

 

January 2018 peak travel-booking period has arrived, one of the two traditional booking spikes the travel industry enjoys, annually.

Us #Januarygymjokers have our smartphones in hand, PayPal ready to rock and are online as we speak, making one of the biggest purchases and arguably, one of the most important purchases of the year. Its essential that online travel websites deliver the online customer experience expected by these customers.

I got to thinking – what would be the New Year’s resolutions of an online travel retailer?

Find love

It’s the top of many a New Year’s Resolution list – everyone wants to feel loved, including the customers who take the time to visit our websites!

Take time to build a relationship with your customers and provide them with an online experience that shows you care.

When it comes to booking online travel products, a little love goes a long, long way.

Recent research from PhocusWright tells us that Travelers feel like they are provided with too much information that is simply not personalised or tailored to what they are interested in. Their questions about the holiday or the product they are looking for are often not answered by the content served.

Think about the needs and wants of your customer. Provide up-to-date images and consider links to ancillary products like tours and sources of information on local sites of interest and events.

Booking a holiday product can be a lengthy time-consuming process with multiple steps and information requirements, yet, travelers complain they are still provided with excess information and repeated data requests.

K.I.S.S (keep it simple stupid) – and let there be love!

Get Fit

If you’re getting summer ready in time for hitting the beach, you might as well get your website on-point to!

Technical website issues at any point in the booking or even research process could cost you the sale and a customer for life, so, ensuring your website is delivering a 1st class experience is vital.

Keep a close eye on the  health of key website areas like the check-out. Travel typically enjoys high basket values so even a seemingly minor short-lived issue impacting <0.5% of your check-out visitors could create a negative impact on revenue.

Ask your eCommerce team:

Can we identify sessions where users are encountering struggle?
Can we quickly identify what sessions have been impacted by an issue?
Can we give our tech team the details of this issue so they can replicate and resolve it?

Can we quantify the impact of these issues so you can prioritise fixes?

This granular level of insight will ensure your website is in great shape.

Spend more time with the wider family

It’s nice to see everyone as we gather together over Christmas and New Year and we often resolve to not leave it so long (…unsuccessfully!)

Perhaps we should also resolve to take this approach at work with those departments that our work aligns with but we rarely see; let’s be honest, nipping down a floor or along the corridor a bit is just a little easier than making plans to drive an hour for coffee with Aunt Ethel.

Often in eCommerce businesses, IT and eCommerce/marketing teams are not closely aligned. In reality, however, when they pull together and join forces, the results can be outstanding.

Technical teams and IT teams draw a lot of their knowledge from APM solution’s like New Relic and eCommerce teams rely heavily on tools like GA and heat-maps – essentially both teams are tasked with the efficient and successful delivery of the online product, however both are using entirely different tool suites and are not collaborating despite their aligned focus.

Each department has a very different view of the business and what success ultimately looks like and this can cause significant separation,  impacting the level of Online Customer Experience delivered.

Great online Customer Experience relies on collaboration across the whole business and it is possible to achieve this by the right teams working together, and harnessing technology that integrates effectively.

I firmly believe in taking stock of what went well and what didn’t go quite so well as we enter a brand new year and this is as important in our business lives as it is in our personal ones.  So crunch your numbers, flex your CX muscles and sculpt 2018 into the year of great Online Customer Experience in Travel.

 

For key statistics and top tips for your Travel website, download UserReplay’s latest eBook below.

Elaine Winchester

Elaine Winchester