eVOC Insights, a customer experience consulting firm and, RelevantView, a technology provider of Web-based research solutions, entered a syndicated research partnership to address the need for industry-specific, head-to head competitive research.

Their inaugural report Branding & Loyalty for Online Travel Agencies: Expedia vs. Travelocity vs. Orbitz takes a an in-depth look at how consumers interact with the three leading online travel agencies and provides insights into what drives overall purchase preference.

As the online travel market becomes more and more competitive, travel companies want to understand the importance and impact of brand and loyalty on conversion. The competitive travel report for online travel agencies addresses this need and answers the following questions:

• What are consumers looking for in an online travel experience?
• Do consumers recognize and remember a unique brand identity?
• Does loyalty exist among online travel agencies, or are consumers simply shopping on price?
• Where and how shall online travel companies invest in building a brand vs. new features vs. competitive pricing strategies?

Online travel agencies and travel search engines dominate the online travel market, securing 10 out of the top 15 travel sites visited on the Web. In March 2005, more than 18.7M consumers visited Expedia.com, followed by 17.7M to Orbitz and 12.6M to Travelocity. Only a few select travel suppliers made the top 15 ranking, including Southwest, Delta, American Airlines, United, and NWA.

When it comes to price, Expedia and Travelocity outperform Orbitz on perception of low prices guaranteed. Travelocity differentiates itself by touting its email notification when prices drop for specified cities and last minute discounts for travel within two weeks. Expedia emphasizes ease of use through convenient access to previously booked and current itineraries.

Among Expedia and Travelocity “loyalists”, 40%are likely to switch to another site to make a purchase. Conversely, 60% remain loyal to both Travelocity and Expedia after experiencing competitive tasks on each of the sites. Expedia is able to maintain consistency among its loyal following, however, Travelocity is vulnerable.

Related Link: Download the free Abstract for this report