Why Online Travel Portals fail to deliver?

When Shreya reached the hotel, she did not react with the same excitement as when she had clicked ‘Book Now’ on the online travel portal.

“The hotel rooms were pathetic, however we were shown stunning pictures online..and we had nowhere to go but complain and submit negative reviews. A tour package is one of the biggest purchases, but with one bad experience, we are never gonna try it again”, says Shreya.


Yet despite frequent complaints about services, bad deliveries and stringent refund policies, Indian users consistently get enticed by the accessibility of the services that online travel industry in India has brought the emerging market.

So, here are few reasons why travel portals fail to deliver and compel the users to abandon it:

Promoted travel deals are hard to book.

With the boom of digital media, users receive mailers and promotional ads on social media wherein travel portals promote the cheapest travel deals. But, the harsh truth is unveiled when a user clicks on it. After adding the details, the user gets to know the real picture and the deal promoted at INR 999/- turns to INR 3999/- or sometimes more than that.

The online users like the convenience of booking at single or multiple clicks but hiding the facts makes them abandon online travel portals.

Research process is inflexible.

Most of the online travel portals in India make it difficult for the users to search a flight or hotel by narrowing down the options like departure airports, arrival airports and hotel in a periphery. When a user starts searching for tour packages, they are not very clear about dates and destinations and these users should be catered for.

There should be more flexible search options, easily readable and searchable content, and options so that users can save their preferences. Users do research, so it is important to make it easy.

There’re unseen & additional payment charges.

Statistics reveal that more than 60% users duck out when they see total price. It shows that online travel sites have a wicked way of adding additional fees and charges during the booking process. The users may have to head far down to see the real price or some may get deterred along the way by additional charges.

The other reason could be the form design or availability of desired payment method.

Booking and payment process is absurd.

Online travel portals in India offer unnecessary fields in the booking form. While proceeding for booking, the user may see an interrupting screen that may appear as a pop up or blacking out the screen.

There’s a lot that can be painful for users, so it needs to be easy to make the difference.

Sites are not so mobile-friendly.

It is the foremost point as most of the internet users access mobile for booking and reservations. Most online travel sites in India are not mobile-friendly which is a pain area for its users.
Hence, mobile optimization is first step understanding the demographics and interests of the users.

The travel websites should be adaptable and make it easy for the users to do research and bookings through mobile.

Customers are non- returning.

Every travel portal available online add to the process of research as users visit the sites to compare price, product or service regularly. In terms of price comparison, not every site can compete but providing the content that complements the features like reviews and customer experience definitely bring the customer back to the portals.

The key is to entice the user when they are along the booking process.

What are your thoughts? How online travel portals can chuck off abandonment or is it only natural?