When it comes to customer satisfaction, many hotel apps and websites created by legacy brands are lagging those of OTAs and industry disruptors, according to the recently released J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Travel App Satisfaction Study and the J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Travel Website Satisfaction Study. What’s more, the study found that all travel industry websites—even those operated by digital natives like OTAs—scored substantially lower in customer satisfaction than high-scoring websites in other industries, such as credit cards.
“Travel apps and websites have become primary conduits through which consumers experience travel, such as searching for a hotel, booking a rental car, and getting real-time flight status updates,” said Michael Taylor, Travel Intelligence Lead at J.D. Power. “Given the crucial role they play, many travel apps and websites are still too complex for consumers to navigate and do not offer the most helpful information at the right time. One hotel website, for example, requires 29 separate actions across five different pages to make a reservation. That’s not good enough when customers are experiencing simple, elegant, seamless experiences in their banking and credit card apps and websites.”
Both studies explore the key variables that influence customer choice, satisfaction, and loyalty based on five factors: clarity of information provided; ease of navigation; overall appearance, speed of screens/pages loading; and range of services/activities. This year’s data showed that customer satisfaction with travel websites substantially increased when the process of making a reservation was quicker than customers expected. Still, many travel websites contain multi-step processes and fewer than 20 percent of customers report a quicker-than-expected reservation experience. For apps, helpful notifications added upwards of 92 points to overall satisfaction.
Top Hotel Apps and Websites
While OTA brands tended to deliver the most satisfying website experiences, some top-performing hotel companies cracked the code on cross-platform digital satisfaction, delivering strong user experiences and high levels of customer satisfaction across both hotel apps and websites.
IHG ranked highest in overall customer satisfaction among hotel apps with a score of 870, while Hilton Honors (866) ranked second and World of Hyatt (865) ranked third. Choice Hotels ranked highest in overall customer satisfaction among hotel websites with a score of 841. Best Western Hotels & Resorts (840) and Hyatt Hotels (840) tied for second in highest satisfaction among hotel websites.