Airbnb has been identified ahead of traditional travel providers such as Virgin Atlantic and Thomas Cook in the provision of a ‘first class digital user experience’.
A survey by online specialist Webcredible of more than 500 UK travel buyers found that 85% prefer to book their holidays online.
Of these, 60% have eventually given up and abandoned their purchase and 79% have switched to a different travel provider due to challenges in the user journey.
Airbnb ranked first overall due its ‘exceptional website usability, simple booking processes and research options’.
Thomas Cook came last due to the lack of brand interaction, poor use of email marketing and confusing booking processes.
Other travel providers evaluated included Hotels.com, Virgin Atlantic, TripAdvisor, lastminute.com, Expedia, easyJet and Kuoni.
Hotels.com was found to have the best booking process of the sampled sites as it provided customers with a quick idea of how long the process would take, clearly explained why certain information was required and did not allow customers to proceed with the booking without outstanding information.
Thomas Cook scored poorly in this area as all attempts to book through its iOS app either timed out or the check out button returned the user to the home screen.
Kuoni, Thomas Cook and lastminute.com were found to have confusing navigation and poor search functionality.
Webcredible founder and chief executive Trenton Moss said: “Brands are generally providing a very high standard of online and app usability.
“There is room for improvement in some areas particularly among traditional/longstanding providers, possibly due to more complex internal operations.
“With mobile and social usage only set to increase, there is a new generation of providers ready to fill the niche in the online travel market.
“It is no longer enough to simply have an online presence. The travel industry needs to capitalise on the vast opportunities available to interact and guide the consumer at every digital touchpoint and stage of their journey when booking a holiday.”