Online Travel Planning Popularity Varies
A third of US Internet users now research and book travel online, according to the Conference Board and TNS' "Consumer Internet Barometer" study. The report covered US households and was conducted in the second quarter of 2007.
Two in 10 consumers used the Internet more this year than last to research travel arrangements, and 18% increased their online bookings. At the same time, nearly a quarter of respondents said they used the Internet less than they did last year for making travel arrangements. Despite this flux in usage, about a fifth of US Internet users researched their travel online and booked offline in the second quarter of 2007.
More women than men, 21% vs. nearly 19%, used travel Web sites solely to research their travel arrangements. However, more men than women, 34% vs. 33%, researched and also booked their travel arrangements via a travel Web site.
Lynn Franco of the Conference Board said, "Consumers conducting travel research online continue to outnumber those booking online. Among consumers whose online travel arrangements increased this year, ease of use and instant availability are the key drivers."
Asked specifically which vacation planning method they preferred, respondents to a November 2006 survey by TravelFocused found more than half using the Internet. That was more than twice as many who read travel books, and three times as many who watched TV for their travel information.
eMarketer Senior Analyst Jeffrey Grau says, "Internet-savvy consumers are exploiting powerful resources to find information about travel products and pricing. They like businesses to come to them, not the other way around, with the right product, at the right time, in the right way. This challenges travel providers to transition from a service model based on mass consumption to one centered on creating customized packages for groups of travelers with unique interests and needs.