Nov. 30, 2012 -- How satisfied you are with the price you pay for your next vacation may dictate how satisfied you are overall with the travel website you used.
That's according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 Independent Travel Website Satisfaction Report. The report measures consumers' overall satisfaction with their purchase experience on an independent travel website, which consists of a vacation package, flight, hotel or rental car.
The average score for a travel booking site was 798. Expedia, Travelocity and other market leaders all came in with below-average rankings.
Booking.com, with a score of 816, ranked highest in satisfaction. Travel.Yahoo.com came in last, with a score of 777.
So, does this mean the best prices can be found on Booking.com? Not necessarily. But the sites that ranked highest overall also had high scores for price satisfaction.
"While other factors certainly affect overall satisfaction, 75 percent of online travel website consumers indicate price as a primary purchase reason, so there is no denying price greatly impacts the overall website experience," said Sara Wong Hilton, director at J.D. Power and Associates.
The report examines seven factors (listed in order of importance): competitiveness of pricing, usefulness of information, availability of booking/reservation options, website/online store, ease of booking/reserving, competitiveness of sales and promotions, and contact with customer service.
The relative importance of customer service was low: Only 29 percent of online consumers indicated that they contacted customer service. However, for those who did contact customer service, it was the most important factor, trumping even price satisfaction.
Many consumers may not realize several of these sites are part of the same company. For example, Booking.com is part of Priceline. Expedia owns both Hotwire and Hotels.com. Orbitz owns Cheaptickets.
How did your favorite travel booking website stack up?