Study: travel industry is bad equipped for mobile clients

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  • Poor usability: From twelve evaluated travel agencies no one achieved the overall rating “good”
  • Winner TUI obtained in four of the six study areas a evaluation
  • The shortest charging time has Expedia, but the second-place winner in the performance test, Check24, finds a better balance between information supply and performance
  • The tour operators miss the chance so far to offer not only a mobile booking system but also a digital mobile travel companion

The travel industry is one of the pioneers of e-commerce, but concerning the growing mobile commerce via the smartphone it inadequately prepared. Our team of Sevenval Consulting examined in cooperation with the agency Anstrengungslos usability and performance of mobile Internet offers twelve German tour operators.

In this case, none reached a “good” in the study of the usability. However, the winner TUI just barly missed it having a good rating in four of the six fields of inquiry.

The first usability problems arise already in the Google search. This was carried out in the test method with the search words “last minute”.

Gesamtwertung Usability

Many providers do not follow the Google guidelines yet which became known with the initiative “mobile friendly” and need to fear a worse ranking with the introduction of the next Google algorithm.


Inadequate filtering and list design complicates the selection of offers


In the further course of the holiday research carried out in the test procedure the inadequate filtering and list design was noticeable. Sorting capabilities are limited or none-existent compared to desktop websites. The navigation is often complicated by long scrolling. Important information such as customer reviews are missing or unfavorable presented for smartphones. Seven vendors have performed very poorly here.

Significant problems during the booking process

5 of 12 surveyed providers have significant usability defects in the booking process. A lack of mobile optimization of input elements, insufficient to rudimentary treatment of input errors and missing additional services compared to the Desktop such as insurance and rental car were some of the most common problems. The best performer here was HolidayCheck with a largely exemplary booking process.

Cross-device usage is barly supported

The number of users who have multiple devices in use is steadily increasing. According to a Google study in everyday activities such as online shopping 90% of the users switch naturally back and forth between different devices such as smartphone, desktop and notebook. Only five out of twelve evaluated travel portals can support that behaviour up to now, three of them with serious deficiencies.

Performance on the average two seconds slower than the online retailer

On the industry average smartphone-users with a UMTS connection are waiting 8.8 seconds until they can use one of the travel portals. Expedia has the shortest charging time of 4.8 seconds, but this is achieved with a barren offer of information. A useful balance between information supply and charging time reaches the runner-up Check24. The performance taillight Bucher Reisen need almost 14 seconds to load up the mobile site. This is great optimization potential for customer satisfaction, because the booking rate decreases significantly from a waiting time of 4 seconds, this has been demonstrated in various studies.

The solution of Bucher Reisen is basically correct: The company serves all users regardless of the device via a URL.

This so-called one web approach provides both technical and marketing benefits and will certainly be more widespread. Of course, a device discovery and subsequent optimized delivery of content for different devices is a prerequisite.

Performance Wertung


Meet the growing market with a mobile strategy

Sascha Langfus, Head of Consulting Sevenval, misses a targeted approach to utilize the opportunities of the growing M-Commerce: “We could not recognize a mobile strategy of any of the providers that has a higher goal than editing the features of websites for mobile devices. The companies miss the opportunity to offer themselves from booking to the service at the destination until the return flight as a travel companion on the phone. We see great potential for customer loyalty here, to stand out from the homogeneous travel deal.

About Sevenval Consulting

The team of Sevenval Consulting advises companies that want to implement complex responsive web projects for the future.

The consulting services include the development of a comprehensive front-end strategy and the concrete design of a web infrastructure. On request a project-related analysis of the implementation of the new online presence follows with clear recommendations for further action. The focus is on the content and technical development of web pages that are optimized for all devices.

Sevenval carrys out a parallel review

  • the end-user requirements (Joy of Use)
  • the business objectives of a company (information, sales, customer loyalty)
  • and their technology landscape (systems, processes)

Sevenval Consulting increases so the quality of services for his clients, the conversion rate and customer loyalty, as well as the return on investment of the Web infrastructure.

by Jonas Kristen