Travel websites are part of a mature e-commerce industry and it's more than a decade since pioneering travel operators entered the brave new world of the internet – but there's still plenty of room for improvement, according to a recent Travolution article.

Travel companies must continue to invest if they are to keep up with customer demands today, says Enrique Duvos, director of product marketing and enablement at Akamai Technologies.

Duvos pointed out that functionality, speed and usability standards have moved forward every year and that for travel companies stay competitive in these fundamental service areas, they must continue moving forward.

Innovations like broadband – now widespread – mean that travel customers' expectations are higher than ever before. These days customers are looking for an easy journey through intuitive search and filter functions, and they don't want to have to wait more than a couple of seconds for pages to load. Travel operators must keep up with the times when delivering a website, Duvos says.

Keeping customers waiting will drive them away, he continues. While it's all well and good to plough resources into attracting customers to the site, speed and reliability are what's needed once they get there.

Duvos puts forward several steps that travel operators need to take to stay ahead of the game:

  1. Keep investing in functionality, speed and usability to stay competitive. Ensure websites deliver a fast, engaging and reliable experience to retain transactions and customer loyalty.

  2. How mobile-friendly is your site? One in five online travel bookings are made on mobile devices. It's time for travel operators to ensure they can deliver great web experiences on any device.

  3. Innovate. Find new ways to engage prospective customers, such as streaming video (but make sure it's broadcast-quality).

  4. Travel firms need advanced, updated security to ensure customer data is protected and PCI compliant.

Online travel customers often stick to just a few websites, which means that first impressions are vital. If your site is slow, hard to use or not accessible via smartphone or tablet you risk missing out on sales. The time to act is now: talk to us today and discover how we can help improve your customers' online and mobile experience.