A research conducted by Burst Media has highlighted the prowess of Internet as primary travel planning resource. (2/21/2007)
With the US online travel marketplace approaching $70 billion, Burst Media recently surveyed over 2,100 web users 18 years and older who plan to travel in the next three months about their use of the web as a travel resource.
Among respondents who will utilise the Internet to plan their upcoming travel, nearly half (47.2 percent) say the Internet will be their primary travel resource. Among age segments, respondents 25-34 years are most likely to say the Internet will be their primary travel resource (53.2 percent); and respondents 55 years and older are least likely (41.4 percent). Additionally, half (51.8 percent) of respondents reporting household income (HHI) of $75,000-$99,999, and nearly two-thirds (63.1 percent) of respondents reporting HHI of $100,000 or more say the Internet will be their primary travel resource.
“Travelers have flocked to the Internet - actively using it as an information resource and a place to make travel purchases,” says Chuck Moran, manager of market research, Burst. “Travel industry advertisers should take advantage of the web’s ability to not only target travel audiences with specific interests, but also deliver a vast amount of information. They should also explore the interactive nature of the web by using creative that the user can interact with, gather information, and possibly complete a travel transaction.”
The company, as per the study, found that two-thirds (66.9 percent) of respondents will conduct travel research as well as make an online travel transaction – while 33.1 percent will use the web solely as an information resource. As household income (HHI) increases so does the likelihood that a respondent will use the Internet to conduct both travel research and travel transactions. In fact, 72.3 percent of respondents reporting HHI of $75,000-$99,999, and 79.7 percent reporting HHI of $100,000 or more will conduct online travel research as well as travel transactions for their upcoming travel.
Further, of those who will conduct a travel transaction on the web about three-quarters (74.0 percent) will purchase airline tickets, 72.9 percent will likely make hotel reservations, and over one-third (40.4 percent) will likely rent an automobile. Additionally, respondents who will make transactions online will also conduct travel research online – 59.7 percent will research travel destinations, and 28.6 percent will research travel/tour operators.
Among survey respondents who use the Internet solely as a research tool the most popular tasks are; research hotel accommodations and prices (50.1 percent), research travel destinations (45.8 percent), research airline flights and fares (39.2 percent), research tour/travel operators (24.4 percent), and research care rental availability/rates (12.2 percent).
Interestingly, women placed a much greater importance than men on travel promotions and specials (55.4 percent versus 44.5 percent). Also, older respondents placed greater emphasis than younger respondents on destination information. In fact, over half (56.5 percent) of respondents 55 years or older say destination information is essential for a website to continue to draw their attention – this compares to 51.8 percent of respondents 35-54 years, and 43.1 percent of the 18-34 year segment.
Respondents were asked what features of a travel resource website make them want to return to it: the ability to check flights, hotels and rental car’s rates/ availability (55.1 percent), destination information (49.9 percent), and travel promotions and specials (49.7 percent) were most often cited. This content is followed by travel bulletins and alerts (22.0 percent), chat/forum areas to read or post travel information (12.7 percent), ability to personalise pages (10.8 percent), and opt-in newsletter (9.6 percent).