Greg Webb Greg Webb

Price transparency ‘key issue’ for NZ travel retailers to gain trust

The travel industry can boost global recovery by addressing consumer trust gaps in price transparency, Covid-19 health and safety measures, data privacy and information credibility, according to research commissioned by Travelport.

‘The travel industry needs to sharpen its focus on trust’, says Greg Webb, chief executive officer at Travelport. ‘This study has shown, as an industry, we are not as trusted as we would like. The good news is that we now know what the issues are, and we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to hit reset, as countries reopen and travellers get back on airplanes. If we move quickly to address these issues, we can accelerate industry recovery as well as the modernisation of travel retailing.’

The study of 11,000 travellers across 10 countries, including 1000 in New Zealand, was conducted by Edelman Data & Intelligence (DxI).

In NZ, it revealed the two most important factors in building consumer trust in travel agencies and travel suppliers, such as airlines, are having ‘no hidden costs’ (71%, the highest globally) and ‘fully flexible or refundable products’ (53%). Most travellers currently deem industry performance in these areas to be poor (70% and 67% respectively. Travellers in New Zealand were among the world’s most disappointed, with a significant 41 and 20 percentage point gap between importance and performance on those two points respectively.

‘The importance of price transparency can’t be overstated,’ says Webb. ‘To put it into context, having no hidden costs is a full 25% more influential on trust than an airline’s long-term safety record. The time has come to eliminate hidden fees and improve overall transparency of pricing and communication.’

The majority (53%) of travellers that participated in the study say the travel industry has done well in implementing Covid-19 health and safety measures. However, around half would like more reassurance on how robustly some measures are being enforced, in particular, improved air filtration, social distancing and managed boarding and queuing.

Data privacy was another key issue highlighted. Barely one third of travellers in New Zealand (31%, compared to 40% globally) reported that they currently trust travel companies to use their personal information in the right way. Globally, this was especially apparent among Baby Boomers (33%) and Gen Z (36%).

Trusted companies are better retailers

Travelport’s recent research uncovered evidence that trust directly influences purchasing behavior. Due to Covid-19, over four in 10 (41%) of Kiwi travellers were shown to prioritise trust over all other factors when choosing a travel supplier. Many travellers also stated, when trust is in place, they will consider purchasing multiple travel-related items (40%), upgrading their package (35%) and buying non-travel-related items such as credit cards (20%). 

‘Trusted companies make better retailers,’ says Travelport’s chief executive officer Greg Webb. ‘When trust is combined with cutting-edge technology and effective sales, it becomes a powerful proposition. At
Travelport, we continue to invest in these
areas in a bid to not only help the industry rebound from the pandemic, but come out the other side more agile and stronger.’   

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