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29 February 2016

The failure of online travel planning

When I book a business trip, I know where I am going from, where I am going to and when I need to be there. No travel site deals with this.
I look at leading sites such as skyscanner and they tell me about flights and airports. This isn't of interest, as they don't then connect with the landing times of the planes, the onward travel time to where I am going and whether the flight will actually get me to my meeting on time. When I go to London I have the choice of 5 airports and I simply want to know if the flight will get me to my meeting on time. This would be a solution that meets a customer need. I don't care if I fly or take the train, I just want to know when I need to leave to be there on time. The mode of travel is secondary.
The same applies at the end I am leaving from. I could drive to the airport and park. I could take a taxi, I could take public transport. I want to know what the options are for leaving my house and getting to the check in desk on time, then sorted by cost. Public transport is not available at certain times. Taxis cost an amount per journey whereas airport parking costs an amount per day. A proper travel website would give me these options with the minimum of effort.
Here is the user need:
As a traveller I want to get to my meeting on time and see the options presented by cost.
I also want to leave the meeting venue after the meeting ends and know the return options so I can be back home by a particular time.
This is my challenge to travel websites. Integrate your offerings to meet the user need rather than a small niche. Joining up services should be your job rather than mine.
In the future we will have solved this and wonder why we put up with disjointed thinking for so long.
Place user needs first and you will win the hearts of your users and inspire them. Everything in life is emotions first and functionality second. I want to feel happy using a travel service, I want to feel well served, I want to be inspired by customer service, I want to enjoy my trip. The functionality of how this is achieved is secondary. You can have the most functional site in the world but if users don't like it they will move away or vent their frustrations on social media. Customer emotions should be your top priority.
Original article at https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/failure-online-travel-planning-craig-cockburn feel also free to comment there.
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