Published: 02 Dec 2008: Consumers in the US have "cut back drastically on their online searches for air travel accommodations".
According to Comscore Inc., searches for airline information in October fell 14 percent compared with October 2007.
As per the information available, online traffic declined sharply at Expedia Inc., falling 25 percent in the month, while searches fell 16 percent at Travelocity.com LP and 23 percent at Orbitz.
"The economy and industry outlook for the fourth quarter has deteriorated markedly over the past six weeks," Steven Barnhart, chief executive officer and president of Orbitz told the Chicago Tribune.
In ComScore´s October survey, more than 50 percent of consumers indicated they planned to change their travel plans this year with 39 percent of those consumers indicating they would simply stay at home during the winter.
However, it is being highlighted that ComScore´s data did not present a complete picture of online travel activity since it measured only US traffic and not overseas customers. For Expedia, "that´s leaving out a huge chunk," said Amanda Hoffman, spokeswoman for the Bellevue, Wash.-based company.
"The travel industry is hurting right now, and certainly online travel agencies aren´t immune," said Hoffman.
As per the information available, bucking the trend were two websites that help budget-minded travellers drive better deals. Priceline.com Inc. saw a 24 percent jump in visitors during October, while traffic to Kayak.com surged 93 percent, to 7.9 million visitors.