More Consumers Use the Web to Buy Travel
“Amidst a softening economy, both consumers and businesses are increasingly in search of value for their precious travel dollars,” said Heidi Kim, Jupiter analyst, from Jupiter's @travel forum in Miami. “The Internet will continue to grow as an important channel for information, products and services precisely because of its ability to help travelers find the best possible fares and rates. To increase their share of the growing online travel market, travel providers must vigilantly focus on increasing loyalty and wallet-share from each of their hard-won customers, in addition to converting customers who research online but purchase offline.”
According to Jupiter analysts, travel providers must target different messages to customers who purchase online versus customers who research online but purchase offline. While online purchasers seek good prices, ease of use and effective service, travel researchers also need reassurance from providers about data-privacy, transaction-security and hidden fees.
According to a February 2001 Jupiter Consumer Survey, the Internet continues to play a significant role in consumers' overall travel-shopping experience: 29% of U.S. online consumers research and purchase travel on the Internet; 29% research leisure travel online but ultimately purchase offline; and 42% are not yet using the Internet for travel shopping.
Consumers shopping for travel online report that they almost always check more than one site before purchasing: 10% of airline-ticket purchasers online check one site, while 60% visit two or three and 25% visit four or more sites; 10 percent of hotel bookers visit one site, while 43% visit two or three and 22% visit four or more; and 13% of car-rental bookers visit one site, while 36% visit two or three and 13% visit four or more.
To find the best value for their leisure and unmanaged business-travel dollar, consumers will use the Internet extensively to find the best travel deals available. U.S. online consumers booked $14 billion of leisure and unmanaged travel online in 2000, a figure that Jupiter expects to grow to $32 billion in 2006.