|analytical Q||May-Aug 2000||Sept-Dec 2000||Contact||Discussion|
USABILITY OF TRAVEL SITES
TRAVELERS are known to be bargain hunters. I once met a travel agent who complained that hers was the only profession who helped customers reduce her income. If travel agents live on commission, what do travel web sites live on?
My approach is to use a few good web sites to find the prevailing market rates for air fares and hotels. Then I call my travel agent to do the scenario and sensitivity analyses. If I had the time, I would skip the travel agent and do everything online. That way, I get more airmiles for booking online as well as get cheaper fares (as I had found with British Midlands). Some cheap fares do not exist offline.
The monthly magazine Internet World conducted a usability analysis of four British travel sites in its October 2000 issue. The criteria for usability were used for both "site" and "results page":
Microsoft Expedia got the highest total score. Results are returned from UK's top 20 companies. The information is exhaustive.
Travelocity also contains a lot of information. The search function is intuitive.
Lunn Poly and Thomas Cook cater for the holiday goers wanting vacation packages. They ranked highest for consistency. I heard on the radio once that Thomas Cook was quite favoured for its user-friendliness. I don't know. I just use Travelocity and FlyNow.
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