We’re creating a more connected travel industry, underpinned by sustainability and long-term investor relations.
Posted by Bruno Hourdel (EMEA Product Director - Enterprise Cloud, Akamai)
e-Commerce sales continue to grow across the world. Web sites are also becoming a main source of information for consumers. In December 2011, more than 2.2 billion Internet users (Source Internet World Stats) were browsing or transacting over the Internet. In 2011, more than 160 billion USD worth of merchandise was sold online (Source ComScore).
In addition, in-store sales influenced by online research is estimated to be from 3 to 5 times larger than total e-commerce sales. For airlines and travel companies, the Internet has become a key sales channel and a major brand showcase. This is also one of the best platforms to merchandise extra products and services, and by doing so, gain additional revenue streams.
In order to take full benefit from online transaction and interaction, many studies show that enterprises delivering uninterrupted web site availability, fast, rich, secure, and easy-to-use e-commerce platforms are heading in the right direction to improve conversion rates and reduce web site abandonment.
Many drivers can impact the user experience and the conversion of a search into a sales transaction. The ticket price is obviously the major one, but additional factors such as unexpected fees during or at the end of the buying process, the lack of choice or inventory, the need to register, or a confusing user interface will also influence consumer behaviour.
And among all of these, the speed of the website is significantly raising the abandonment rate. 57% of online "shoppers" will abandon after 3 seconds or less (Source PhoCusWright). Furthermore, some recent behavioural analyses show that it has dropped to 2 seconds or less in 2011. So, the need for speed and reliability is obvious. The better the response times are, the larger the shopping cart and the greater level of loyalty a user will feel towards the site.
Finally, the growth of connected devices and the shift to online services are putting another level of pressure on websites. We have moved from one device per user in 2005 to 3 devices in 2010 and analysts are forecasting 5 devices per user in 2015. Travel websites will need to be able to support any device, anywhere, at any time. And don't think that a Mobile user will accept longer response times! 71% of mobile phone users expect websites to load as quickly on their mobile phone as on their desktops! (Source Compuware 2011)
So the need for a Global Acceleration platform that will speed up transactions across a variety of devices and bring a better user experience has become obvious for many e-commerce companies. That is why all 20 top global e-commerce sites are using the Akamai acceleration platform to power their websites. 95% of the US e-retailers trust Akamai to transact online. Many airline portals use Akamai to increase their conversion rate and deliver the best user experience!
In order to increase online sales efficiency, Amadeus has now become an Akamai NetAlliance Partner and is providing a proven solution to power Airline web services: the Amadeus Web Application Acceleration by Akamai. Airlines, travel agencies and Travel Management Companies (TMCs) will now benefit from improvement in online responses of up to five times previous speeds, leading to increased revenues and a cutting-edge user experience.