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Test Automation for the Travel Industry

This post is part of an upcoming series that discusses how different industries can leverage test automation to address the challenges of digital transformation. To learn more about QA and test automation as it relates to travel, read our recent article for Test Magazine by our co-founder, Yarin Podoler.

How Test Automation Tools Can Help: Travel & Hospitality

With our increased reliance on technology, even the smallest of IT failures can have catastrophic repercussions.

Just look at British Airways, whose momentary check-in issue at Heathrow and Gatwick airports caused hundreds of flight cancellations and thousands of angry passengers. Due to this software glitch that affected their booking system, baggage handling, and other applications, British Airways suffered a major financial loss and a blow to its brand reputation.

This is just one of many high-profile IT failures that show the importance of software testing, especially when the digital transformation has made such an impact on the travel and hospitality industry. In addition to these technological advances, people are also steadily investing more of their money into travel. Millennials account largely for this shift, prioritizing their spending of money on experiences over objects.

From more traditional airline and hotel websites to aggregate sites like Orbitz and Booking.com, these companies have an increasingly vested interest in keeping their software in peak condition. Below you will find a few fundamental ways in which test automation can help make sure that this happens.

Satisfy the Need for Speed

Travel and hospitality websites have many functions that allow them to work optimally. Perhaps it’s the ability to pay for a flight online, or the need to log in to a hotel booking account to use their preferred filters for a future hotel stay.

Speed has become an increasingly important factor in the travel industry, with travel-related searches for “tonight” and “today” growing over 150% in the last two years. People are making travel decisions more impulsively today, and they need the infrastructure to complete those purchases efficiently.

"Tonight" or "Today" Hotel and Air Queries Graph

Photo Credit: Think with Google

With a test automation tool, you can do continuous testing to ensure that these bedrock functions of your site are running smoothly. Continuous testing for these essential functions is critical, especially in a largely competitive market where one small bug concerning these features will prompt a nearly immediate switch to a different travel site.

Test automation tools can also make a bigger impact on these types of tasks if they incorporate machine learning into their platform. In the effort to create the best user experience possible, travel and hospitality sites often make subtle changes to their applications so that users can access or use them more easily.

With machine learning in test automation, your tool can overcome these changes in your application and make these tests more reliable with fewer breaks. This not only assures a QA team that these critical functions are still working despite small changes, but it also frees up time to create more complicated test flows for other features on your site.

Deliver an End to End Experience

Travel is no longer as simple as booking a flight or an Airbnb. People expect to book flights, on-the-ground transportation, destination activities, hotels and more, all on one single platform. In addition, they are expecting the experience of doing all of these to be the same, no matter the device or browser.

Cross-browser testing with your test automation tool is one major way travel and hospitality companies can ensure a seamless customer experience. Whether someone is booking a hotel on their Mac using Chrome or planning an excursion on a PC in the hotel lounge using Firefox, test automation can make sure that people can have consistent engagement with your site.

Test automation tools can also help create a smooth end to end experience by testing your site integrations. For example, consider the scenario where someone books a flight and wants to sync the information with his or her Google Calendar. Test automation can not only ensure that the person gets redirected to Google Calendar, but also that the information gets inputted correctly.

Furthermore, there is an ever-growing need for the travel industry to offer more personalization. Test automation can affirm that travel and hospitality companies deliver when there are options for personalization, such as bringing up previous searches or inputting your name and address automatically on a purchase page.

Handle Sensitive Information Securely

There are also many security considerations to think about when it comes to using travel and hospitality sites, from recording personal details to storing credit card information. Especially with the increased demand for personalization in the industry, it’s important that companies test these aspects of their applications in a secure way.

In fact, security is often seen as a large pain point for travel and hospitality companies. According to a recent study from Dashlane that tested 55 top travel booking websites, a shocking 89% of these sites failed when tested for their data security policies around password protection. While there are many best practices both consumers and companies alike can adapt to combat this, this statistic raises other concerns when it comes to testing sensitive data.

Dashlane Travel Password Power Rankings Chart

Photo credit: Dashlane blog

While there is a common misconception that only on-prem testing tools can be truly secure, you can find the same with SaaS testing tools. Not only can you benefit from a SaaS solution’s scalability and flexibility, but you can also rest easy knowing that your data is sufficiently protected.

There are important things to consider before adopting one of these tools, such as understanding how well it integrates into your site’s architecture or confirming that it offers end to end encryption for your data. Additionally, you can determine whether your tool allows to store data externally and upload it strictly for testing purposes using an Excel or CSV file.

Create Improved Business Processes

For larger travel companies, in particular, their QA teams are often made up of two groups of people that don’t work together as well as they could. The first group of individuals on a QA team are engineers, who have superior programming skills but don’t often consider the larger business implications that come with their code. The second group is comprised of manual testers that often have more insight into the company’s business processes but have little to no coding knowledge.

The disparity between testers and engineers often leads to a less productive working environment. Manual testers are often stuck working on repetitive tasks using legacy software that doesn’t allow them to produce quality work at a fast rate, while engineers are unsure about the business processes that are most beneficial to the company’s customers.

Test automation – or more specifically, codeless test automation – can help bridge this gap between manual testers and engineers. A codeless test automation platform creates a common language for both engineers and manual testers to discuss the tests happening for any given application. This allows for clearer communication and stronger collaboration, regardless of technical ability.

By creating a level playing field for everyone on the QA team, codeless test automation frees up time to focus on what really matters: how to provide a better experience for the company’s current and future customers. This will give the QA team the opportunity to create better and more efficient business processes that ultimately contribute towards creating a better travel site overall.

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