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A Mixed-Method Study of User Behavior and Usability on an Online Travel Agency

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Online travel agencies (OtAs) play a more and more important role in the tourism and hospitality industry by contributing to a large volume of transactions and revenue. Many studies have evaluated tourism websites through different research methods. Website usability in general has improved dramatically but problems remain. Very few studies focus on the user behavior and usability of a single OtA website. This research uses a mixed-methods approach, including eye tracking methodology to study information search strategy and the usability problems of a major OtA site with a predefined information search task. The results show that users' information search is mostly utilitarian in nature; the complex interface and advertising messages either confuse or were ignored by most users. The study calls for a simpler and more intuitive interface.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2011-12-01

More about this publication?
  • Information Technology & Tourism is the first scientific journal dealing with the exciting relationship between information technology and tourism. Information and communication systems embedded in a global net have profound influence on the tourism and travel industry. Reservation systems, distributed multimedia systems, highly mobile working places, electronic markets, and the dominant position of tourism applications in the Internet are noticeable results of this development. And the tourism industry poses several challenges to the IT field and its methodologies.
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