ForeSee Study: Southwest Airlines, Choice Hotels, Marriott Top Mobile Travel Satisfaction Index ForeSee study ranks top mobile travel sites and apps; Bookers happier than Lookers; Mobile users not so "mobile"

ANN ARBOR, Mich., March 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Customers give high marks to Southwest Airlines for providing the best mobile experience, making the airline the one to beat on mobile devices as well as in the air, according to new research from customer experience analytics firm ForeSee. The ForeSee Mobile Satisfaction Index: Travel Edition is a study of the mobile experiences of 25 major airlines, hotels, online travel agencies, and car rental companies. Customers gave Southwest a score of 82 on the 100-point scale, while Choice Hotels (80) and Marriott (79) rounded out the top three in terms of mobile satisfaction.

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Of all the measured travel categories, hotel mobile sites and apps provide the best mobile experience, with an average score of 78. Airlines and car rental companies tie at 77, while online travel agencies score lowest at 76. 

"Simple is the rule. Customers are attracted to the convenience of the mobile platform and do not want a complicated experience," said Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee. "That's much easier for a hotel company to do because they have fewer moving parts and a predictable inventory. Airlines introduce more variables like seat selection and variable pricing. Online travel agencies have the most difficult challenges because they're dealing with all of these factors. Making matters worse, some travel properties are trying to assert more control over their own customers by withholding inventory from the travel aggregators."

Hotels:  Choice Hotels and Marriott International lead the industry, while Best Western trails in terms of customer satisfaction with the mobile experience.

Mobile Satisfaction with Hotel Sites and Apps

Hotels

Satisfaction

Hotels: Average

78

Choice Hotels International

80

Marriott International

79

Hyatt Corp

78

Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts

78

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts

78

Hilton Worldwide

77

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Intl

77

Best Western International

76

Online Travel Agencies: Individual companies within the lowest performing category are closely grouped, with only three points separating category leaders Kayak and Travelocity at 78 and Hotels.com and Orbitz.com at 75. Competition is tight, and there is opportunity for differentiation and innovation. A disproportionately large percentage of leisure travelers (84%) visit the mobile sites and apps of online travel agencies.

"Leisure travelers are more demanding than we thought," said Eric Feinberg, ForeSee senior director of mobile. "It is clear that travel aggregators need to do a better job of understanding what the leisure traveler needs."

Mobile Satisfaction with Online Travel Agency Sites and Apps

Online Travel Agencies (OTA)

Satisfaction

OTA: Average

76

Kayak.com

78

Travelocity.com

78

Expedia.com

76

Priceline.com

76

Hotels.com

75

Orbitz.com

75

Airlines:  While Southwest is the undisputed king of satisfaction, the rest of the airline industry trails far behind, with no company within 5 points of the leader in mobile satisfaction.

"Southwest's simple, friendly, and no-frills approach to doing business translates well in the air as well as online. No assigned seats and no fees for baggage help to simplify the process for the consumer, which no doubt contributes to a more satisfying mobile experience," added Feinberg.

Mobile Satisfaction of Airline Sites and Apps

Airlines

Satisfaction

Airlines: Average

77

Southwest Airlines

82

American Airlines

77

Delta Airlines

77

United Airlines

75

US Airways

74

Car Rentals: Avis and Enterprise share the podium at 78; Budget and Hertz tie for second with a 77. Dollar trails everyone at 75. 

Mobile Satisfaction with Car Rental Company Sites and Apps

Car Rental

Satisfaction

Car Rental: Average

77

Avis Rent-a-Car

78

Enterprise Rent-a-Car

78

Budget

77

Hertz

77

Dollar

75

Other findings:

  • Apps vs. Mobile Sites: Customers using mobile apps (78) are more satisfied with their mobile travel experience than those using mobile sites (77). Apps may benefit from a slightly higher score because their platform, unlike mobile sites, is tailored specifically to a mobile device.
  • Not-So-Mobile Users: More than 70% of mobile users book with various travel sites from home, while only 12% of app and site users combined claim to be on-the-go when booking similar services.
  • Lookers vs. Bookers: More people access mobile travel sites and apps to research (43%) than book a service or flight (23%). And those who use the sites to simply research (77) are less satisfied than those who book (79).
  • Steer Clear of the Stars:  Despite what customers may think, star ratings in app stores reveal very little when it comes to truly tracking the mobile experience.  While a stars rating may be helpful from customer to customer, executives should be tuned in to satisfaction as a key performance indicator for any travel-related mobile investments.

The ForeSee Mobile Satisfaction Index: Travel Edition is based on more than 6,000 survey responses collected in February 2013. The full index is available at www.foresee.com.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Chaat Butsunturn, Kearns & West
415-391-7900 x1214
cbutsunturn@kearnswest.com

Amanda Piasecki, Kearns & West
202-535-7800 x1114
apiasecki@kearnswest.com

About ForeSee
As a pioneer in customer experience analytics, ForeSee continuously measures satisfaction across customer touchpoints and delivers critical insights on where to prioritize improvements for maximum impact. Because ForeSee's superior technology and proven methodology connect the customer experience to the bottom line, executives and managers are able to drive future success by confidently optimizing the efforts that will achieve business and brand objectives. The result is better business for companies and a better experience for consumers. ForeSee is headquartered in Ann Arbor, MI and can be found online at www.foresee.com.

SOURCE ForeSee



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