A recent study, conducted by online travel agent sunshine found that despite the growing trend amongst consumers to use their smartphones for (travel related) browsing, in terms of booking it still lacks far behind the most popular options such as online (67%), travel agents (41%) and by telephone (29%, call-centre). In comparison, only 13% of consumers indicated they have used an app to book via smartphone or table.
Consumer trust as biggest barrier to app adoption
As initially reported by Tnooz the study showed that a lack of consumers’ trust into travel apps is one of the big barriers to adoption. The majority of participants indicated that they do not trust apps (52%). The respondents were particularly concerned about security issues (32%), as well as concerns not ending up with what they wanted in the first place (25%). Consumers’ trust concerns however, were not only linked to security and accuracy, but also included the reputation of the brands behind the apps. In fact, some people (16%) voiced concerns about the fact that they do not know who is behind these apps. A rather small group of people cite disappointment as a major concern. A mere 4% admitted having had a bad experience with a hotel or holiday booking app.
Design and usability only one side of the coin
This shows that in order to fully tap into the potential of mobile distribution, companies need to invest in providing consumers’ assurance and confidence that the channel as well as the provider of the apps is trustworthy. While often usability, functionality and design are the primary concerns of app developers, the underlying issue of consumer trust is often ignored.
Learn from website design
However, there already exists a rich body of research into the perceived trustworthiness of websites in travel and tourism, showing how these concerns can be addressed within the design and layout of webpages. For instance, providing a range of different contact details (e.g. email, phone, address, etc) and a brief summary of the company, decreases consumers’ concerns about the trustworthiness of the company behind the app. A visible overview of the upcoming steps in a booking process, can alleviate the worry not to end up with a product that one wanted to buy initially.
In summary, travel app developers need to take wider consumer behaviour issues into account when successfully designing apps for travellers that offer a sales functionality.
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