The latest findings from the eTravel Benchmark report shed some light on how mobile applications are faring against the online presence of travel brands.
The eDigital Research study (registration required), the first time the company has carried out parallel travel apps benchmarking alongside websites, shows mobile apps often do better than the more established online presence for some travel companies.
Premier Inn took the top overall spot for its mobile application with a score of 87.3% and the service scored highly for variety of choice of products, range of information and variety of pricing of products.
Ironically the budget hotel brand did not score as highly for its website with an overall score of 75.2% slipping one place from the previous research in February.
Overall the hotels and hotel agents sector scored higher for search and booking via apps than the airline and online travel agent/operator sectors.
For flight apps, Lufthansa came out top with a score of 79.6% compared with it's website score of 76.2% although the airline did manage to climb seven spaces to 30 in the overall ranking.
In the flight app category there was a general consumer expectation that they would provide booking and check-in capabilities.
For OTAs/operators the Expedia app emerged top with an overall score of 73.4% which compares less favourably to its website score of 82.1% - second overall in the eTravel Benchmark after Center Parcs.
The Expedia app was praised for its level of detail and in general consumers were seeking detailed hotel information and images from OTA apps as well as clearly labelled special offers. Consumers also said they wanted to find holiday inspiration from the mobile services and additional features such as location guides.
Further findings from the eTravel Benchmark:
- Center Parcs achieved the top spot and scored highly for the early stages of the customer journey as well as telephone support
- the hotel agents, holiday camp and self-catering sectors continue to achieve the highest scores across the seven sectors covered in the report
- live help is increasingly being employed by travel suppliers as an additional support channel and Virgin Atlantic was rated the highest for its service
- Thomas Cook achieved the highest rise in the rankings, coming fifth overall, following a website overhaul earlier this year and improvements highlighted across all elements of the customer journey
- Princess Cruises saw the largest fall in the rankings from 15 to 43 with consumers saying they were unable to find email details or didn't receive a response
- First Choice also lost considerable ground with lower scores across the customer journey particularly for telephone and email services
The eDigital Research eTravel Benchmark was conducted in May and June 2012 and compared the usability of 52 leading UK travel websites across seven sectors. The apps research was carried out on 15 services.
NB: Main image via Shutterstock