Alliza-Moira A. Enrile: “How College Students Book Flight Tickets Online” Transcript
Hello, everyone. My name is Alliza-Moira Enrile, and I am a senior in the hospitality and tourism management program. For my Honors project, I did a research about how college students book flights online.
So for the outline of the presentation, I’ll be presenting the abstract, the introduction, the objections, research questions, methodology, the obstacles, predictions, online survey results, conclusions, recommendations, and the impacts.
So for the abstract, student travelers mostly uses airplane as their mode of transportation when traveling to different destinations. There are significant numbers of college students that travel domestically and internationally. College students represent millennials and are considered to be major passengers in the travel industry in 10 years. College students’ consumption of products is based on their budget, but there are other factors that influence their online flight booking decisions. This makes it important to understand college students’ be thought processes and behavior when they travel by airplane.
Millennials are highly influenced by technology when it comes to booking structures compared to previous generations. This generation can easily just book a flight just by clicking one website or one app which will help them to book their flights, and it’s just easy to navigate their gadgets, such as cell phones, or laptops, or tablets as well. Being highly influenced by technology, they’re also able to look at social media and monitor reviews from other travelers and user-generated sites, such as TripAdvisor, where they can see reviews from other travelers who have been to the planned destination that they wanted to go for their travel.
With that, people can see other experiences from other people through social networking, which plays a very vital role when it comes to behavior or flight booking process because it creates an interaction with other users and it gives them assurance when trusting a certain brand where previous travelers will recommend this brand if its good or not.
And customer satisfaction is very vital to thrive in the airline industry as it has a highly competitive market. The airline industry is dynamic, where is just doesn’t stop, so airline companies thrive try to get more passengers as much as they can. They also want to provide high customer satisfactions for the passengers as well.
We have a chart of the six stages of the booking processes. So first we have to research the information. The research of information can be through online or offline. So with online obviously they can use a website, get information from promotions from airline companies. And with offline they can go directions, for example, to a travel agent and ask for their recommendations or their help with their travel. Along with that they could also get information for example from grocers, newspapers or flyers. And with that we are going through the online resources of information, where people will look for websites and applications that they might have. They can browse through their laptops or their phones or some people have travel-related apps on their phone. After that, people will think about the third part. They will think about the price, time, and the brand. The price if they prefer cheap versus expensive. If they want to pay more for the service or they want to save more money. For seasons if they want to go for winter, autumn, summer, or fall, it’s solely up to the time, they have different rates regarding with those times. Like summer might be a little expensive or it might also be a little cheap since a lot of travelers are going to be traveling around for summer break, then for winter it might be cheaper as well, since people most likely won’t want to travel during snowy times.
Then with the brand it comes with a big role when it comes to comparing with the price, so some people might prefer looking for the price over the brand. Some people don’t care about the brand, they just prefer cheaper flight. But in connecting with the brand, low cost airlines are obviously cheaper than the major airlines, which cost a little bit more, but some students or some millennials will want to pay for a little bit more just to get the service that they want for their travel.
With that, college students, they also have factors of traveling, reasons for traveling. It might be for education purposes, for example being an exchange student or for conferences. Leisure-wise, for example, during spring break or to visit their family and friends in a different state or a different country. For business purposes, I know some of our college students, they are a part time worker as well; they work for other companies. They’re a working student. So probably those are the three reasons for traveling.
Once you get your information, the website that you want to book your flights with based on price and brand and you know your reason for traveling, you can now start comparing the prices. For a major airline brand compared to an opaque airline, which is price-based. Opaque airline are price-based, which are on a website we call a third party website, which they can book through Expedia, Google Flights, even TripAdvisor or Travelocity.
After choosing a flight ticket, you will be able to justify the customer satisfaction. Are you satisfied with the purchase, or do you think there could be more improvements with that, like even, for example, navigating through the website or even price-wise during a certain time.
Answering the research questions and the study objectives following. First is understanding what influences college students’ choice of a specific airline. Second is understanding of what resources college students use to purchase a flight ticket online. Third is understanding how much time college students spend to purchase a flight ticket online.
We are going to be able to answer first what are the things college students consider in order to purchase a flight ticket for their travel? Second, how much time do they spend for their travel? Third, what are the specific resources they use for planning?
For the methodology, the target number of the data was 300 responses from college students, but the actual number of data that has been collected was 190. The link of the survey was created by Qualtrics and was distributed through social media and the department of hospitality and tourism management email. Through social media, it has been posted on Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram, where link is provided below. This form of distribution will cover national students who are from other institutions as well. The survey questionnaire will provide the preference of price, Airline brands, websites, planning time, and the demographic questions.
There have been difficult situation that our world has been facing right now, and it has affected some of the results of the study. The method of collecting the data form social media, as it is considered will reach a wide variety of respondents who may take this survey but are not college students, so on the survey we put that it is for 18 years old and older and college students who reside in the United States. If the data is not enough, the data will be collected at Purdue University Fort Wayne.
And as of now, as we are facing a horrible pandemic, some students could have provided a response for being exchange students, but they have already left their country due to COVID-19. Instead of asking their most recent online flight booking from the past 3 months, we have to go all the way back and ask their experience from the past six months. This kind of creates a challenge as some students’ first flight experience was supposed to be last spring break, when coronavirus started happening and classes are seen to be cancelled. And this was during the month of March. And also the level of satisfaction will be due to the cancellation of flights made by students due to safety reasons.
With the online survey distributed, there are some predictions about the results. They assumptions are that students are budget-sensitive. They prefer low-cost airline brands more than major airline brands. Second, third-party website prices are cheaper. Third college students spend more hours each day searching each day searching for different flight prices and looking for as many flight price options as they can. And the fourth one, loyalty programs won’t really appeal to college students as they seek for more different flight ticket options as they can.
So on this online survey report, which asked how much time be spent purchasing flight tickets online. When asked how much time the respondent spends when purchasing flight tickets online, the large majority of 56%, or 103, respondents said they spend 0-2 hours when searching for and purchasing flight tickets online. And when asking people who spend 3-6 hours, they followed close behind with 30%, which results to 56 respondents. And 7 respondents reported to spend 7-9 hours when purchasing flight tickets online. When asking respondents how they get information when booking flights online, the majority of 57%, which is 170 respondents, said that the internet websites was the most helpful tool where they can get information to decide booking flights online.
Asking people who travel on their travel destination, they followed closely at 29%, which rsults in 85 respondents.
When asking respondents on preferred type of company for booking a flight ticket online, 114 respondents preferred airline companies such as Delta, American Airlines, Southwest, and etcetera, while 37% responded that they prefer booking flights online with third party companies such as Expedia, Google Flights, Travelocity, and etcetera. When respondents were asked what company do they choose if they use online travel agents for flight tickets online, […] followed by Google flights, where 23% of respondents preferred to use Google Flights when booking flights online. Compared to 25 respondents who answered that they use other websites such as SkyScanner, StudentUniverse, Hopper, and ScottsCheapFlights.
When asked about their preferred airline brand, the majority of 51%, or 92 respondents, said they prefer booking flights through a major airline brand. In contrast, 49% of them have reported that they prefer booking flights on a low-cost airline brand, which is Virgin, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, Spirit, and Allegient Airlines.
When asked if they are enrolled in a frequent flyer program, 87% said that they are not enrolled in any airline’s loyalty program. On the other hand 23 respondents are enrolled in a program such as Delta, Qatar, and Spirit airlines.
So in terms of the most important factor that the respondents consider when booking flight tickets online: price, brand, seasons, destination, and flight time were the most important factors when deciding to book flights online. Respondents ranked each factor from the most ti the least important. 61% reported that the price is the first most important factor that they consider when it comes to booking flights, followed by the destination as the second most important. Third most important is the flight time, fourth is the brand, and last at 43% is the season.
When we asked respondents for their best recommendations to their colleagues when booking flights online, some of them said that the plan they had was also to compare websites and check better options. Some also said that they will find great deals if they plan ahead. They should do advance research, and with all of that I will discuss a little bit more about it on the next few slides.
So in conclusion, at one point in time college students didn’t have any money to be able to ravel and explore different places. As Adventurers and thrill seekers, millennials thrive to have a great travel experience while meeting their travel plan budget. And it is a very important aspect for them to follow that. So students who travel and pay for their own travel experiences, they are shown that not having enough money is a big barrier when it comes to student traveling. It just makes sense that travel websites should offer reasonable prices when offering a certain budget. When it comes to meeting a student’s budge, it will result upon having more satisfaction when booking flights online.
As supported by the online survey, college students trust more when booking online through airline company-based websites other than third-party websites. Although millennials are budget sensitive, they still prefer to pay more in order to have the service when booking through a major airline company. Another response from these millennials is when planning to save money and finding deals from vacations, they plan in advance with options of booking flights online. Even with a major airline brand the prices are going to be lower when compared to a last-minute booked flight.
In making recommendations to other college students to save money, based on the online survey’s respondents’ answers, one said “Fly out on Tuesdays, it’s usually cheaper.” With this recommendations, it’s probably because there are fewer travelers, so airline companies decrease the flight tickets. Another respondent has mentioned to take advantage of loyalty programs. As a college student, flying 1-3 times per year is not even close to the flight a person does for business each year.
But getting enrolled in a frequent flyer program can pay off in the long run, as the airline companies can provide lots of benefits when it comes to credit and saving money for airline flights, both domestic and international. A respondent also said “buy travel insurance.” It is a little bit expensive but when it comes to times like this, cancelling a flight ticket and expecting a full refund will most likely not going to happen, but by having a travel insurance, the money that has been paid for will be fully refunded as well. Another response was to look at all different websites. Some websites do have different prices. It might not be big of a difference but it will save a couple of dollars.
So this is the reference page where I mostly got my information for my research project.
That is the summary of my research project. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Thank you for listening. I hope you stay safe and take care.