Conference Board: Online Travel Waning

Fewer U.S. consumers are going online to research and purchase air travel now than two years ago, according to a report issued Wednesday by The Conference Board and TNS.

"Consumers are slowing their adoption of Web-based travel tools," stated the report, which was based on a survey this quarter of 10,000 households.

Researchers asked respondents whether they used the Web to research and/or purchase airplane tickets, hotels, rental cars, and other travel-related items. Just 28 percent of male respondents said they intended to research airline tickets online now, compared to 41 percent two years ago. Twenty-five percent of female respondents reported an intention to research airfare online this year, compared to 36 percent in 2004.

When it came to buying tickets, 19 percent of men said they intended to book travel online now--down from 24 percent two years ago; 15 percent of women said they planned to purchase travel online now, compared to 20 percent in 2004.

Other researchers, however, have recently reported that online travel, although more mature than other Web industries, continues to grow. eMarketer recently forecast that online travel sales would climb to $77.7 billion this year, up almost 20 percent from last year's $64.9 billion.

The Conference Board also reported that e-mail affects online travel purchases: 10 percent of male and 8.6 percent of female respondents said that their travel arrangements had been influenced by e-mail in the last six months.