A new report from eMarketer shows that online travel sales are growing rapidly in China, India and the rest of Southeast Asia. The research expects online travel sales in the region to grow from $79 billion in 2012 to $91 billion in 2013. The good news is that some of this surge in spending is likely to leak into international travel websites, hotels and destinations.
Growth in online travel is especially strong in India and China. eMarketer’s digital travel sales forecast from January 2013—which includes online, tablet and smartphone bookings—also expects the trend to continue all the way through 2016. Online travel sales in China will increase from about $33.3 billion in 2012 to nearly $50 billion by 2016—growth of 50%. India’s digital travel sales will nearly double from $9.61 billion to $18.65 billion during the same period.
This growth encompasses a great opportunity also for international travel sites, hotels and destinations. How can you know that your online customer experience is optimal for Asian travelers? Well, you can’t, not without tracking and measuring it first. When you analyze your website’s customer behavior and conversions, don’t forget to take a look at travelers browsing from Asia and see how they behave. This can be key for unlocking some further growth.
Nevertheless, there are some rules of thumb that work for every travel website. In a whitepaper titled “Best Practices for Online Travel,” ClickTale’s Customer Experience Experts give some advice about their user engagement analysis on online websites.
According to the analysis, there are 4 specific web elements that can improve user engagement on travel websites:
- Provide engaging details of the amenities or destination. Distinguish yourself from the competition by giving website visitors an in-depth description of what they are going to get. Remember that for many users, building expectations is part of the fun before a vacation.
- Remember that most users skim rather than read the text. Therefore, use bullets, bold text and images to let users get as much as they can in as little time possible.
- Reviews. Travelers are more likely to believe fellow travelers than believing you. Therefore design a program to facilitate reviews of past happy customers.
- Call to action. Grab users’ right when they make a decision. Make sure always to have a visible and compelling call to action. Once someone has made a decision, don’t let them look any further for the booking page… They may choose to check out the competition instead.
Asian travel is booming and it’s a great opportunity for you to buck on this trend. Make sure to analyze the user experience and engagement of travelers from Asia to optimize your website for them as well.