To today's consumer, value is just as important as price when making travel decisions and purchases, according to the Travelers Advantage members panel. The discount travel service put together the panel of twelve consumers to establish the needs of the modern traveller.
"Our members' growing emphasis on value is a shift from 2002 when a consumer panel in Florida emphasised price as the single most important factor in their travel decisions," noted Julia Ryan, vice president for Travelers Advantage.
During the panel's debate, some agreed that best value means a lot, while others suggested that features are just as important as price. Panel members also told the advisory board:
- Travelers are still more comfortable booking over the telephone with a live agent, with only 20% of the focus group having made a travel purchase of more than US$1,000 using the internet. The panel raised the point that agents can often be more user-friendly, and many said that they research fares online but book by telephone when they've got all the information they need.
- The panel agreed that cash-back offers on travel reservations are important.
- The panel, all of whom are Travelers Advantage members, said that the firm's annual budget hotels directory should be added to the Travelers Advantage web site as well.
Another major topic of discussion was the growing trend of singles travelling alone, and it was noted that travel suppliers are failing to satisfy customer expectations because current pricing schemes seem to penalise those who are not travelling with a companion.