Boarding pass on smartphone

Travel apps have become a key part of the travel experience for many people, providing information on everything from flight delays to last minute discounts on hotel rooms.

Yet when it comes to overall customer satisfaction, it seems these apps still lag far behind those offered by other industries, particularly the financial industry.

MORE Travel Technology

Passport and iPhone with expedia app

Expedia Agrees to Pay Over $300K for Cuban Travel Sanctions

home rental, home sharing, couple

Travelers Grow Wary of the Sharing Economy

Woman is online with laptop computer and credit card (Photo via Poike / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Journera Announces First Billion Events Processed

According to J.D. Power’s inaugural U.S. Travel App Satisfaction Study, which evaluated apps used by airlines, hotels, online travel agencies, and rental cars, travel apps are falling short of user expectations.

“Travel apps have come a long way,” said Michael Taylor, Travel Intelligence Lead at J.D. Power. “While some travel apps are delivering on their promise, others are missing the mark at critical moments of truth that can significantly influence traveler perception of brands and services. We see big swings in scores among travel apps when users evaluate searching and booking functions.”

The new report’s key findings included

—Travel Apps Lag Far Behind Customer Financial Apps in Overall Satisfaction
The average overall satisfaction score for hotel, OTA and rental Car apps is 849 (on a 1,000-point scale). Airline apps score lower (840).

By contrast, overall user satisfaction scores for credit card apps (874) and retail banking apps (867) are substantially higher. Both credit card and banking apps also have considerably higher levels of utilization.

—Day-of-travel Performance is Critical to Travel App Satisfaction
Across all segments of travel apps, the key performance indicator (KPI) with the most influence on overall satisfaction is ease of use during travel.

Hotel apps that users cite as “easy to use” score 130 points higher in overall satisfaction compared with apps that are perceived as more difficult to use.

Among airline apps, that gap is 125 points. However, just 58 percent of hotel apps and 62 percent of airline apps currently achieve these levels.

—Rental Car Apps Have the Lowest Rate of Adoption in the Travel Industry
Among app users that indicated they have a travel app already downloaded on their smartphone, airline apps lead the industry in customer adoption rate at 90 percent. They’re followed by hotel apps (84 percent); OTA apps (78 percent); and rental car apps (59 percent).

Mobile Pnone Shopping Online With A Debit Card (Photo via ArisSu / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

—Weak Point for Airline Apps
Airline apps have the highest levels of customer utilization of critical features during the day of travel, but the lowest performance in the industry when it comes to speed of screens loading during travel.

OTAs perform best on this metric, with an average page load speed satisfaction score of 856. The average score for airline apps is 824.

The study is based on more than 12,000 evaluations from users of airline, hotel, OTA and rental car apps. It took place from December 2018 through January 2019.

Some of the other key takeaways included that JetBlue ranks highest in overall customer satisfaction among airline apps with a score of 864, followed by Southwest (861) and Alaska Airlines (849).

World of Hyatt meanwhile, ranks highest in overall customer satisfaction among hotel apps with a score of 867, followed by IHG (855) and Hilton Honors (853).

In the OTA category, Orbitz ranks highest in overall customer satisfaction with a score of 866, followed by Priceline (859) and Expedia (847).

And finally, in the rental car category, National ranks highest in overall customer satisfaction with a score of 860 for its app, followed by Enterprise Car Rental (854) and Hertz (844).