Online Travel Spending Soars 59% to More Than $1 Billion in March

Nielsen//NetRatings, the world`s fastest growing Internet audience measurement service, and Harris Interactive, a global leader in Internet-based market research, reports that Southwest Airlines captured the top ranking in online travel customer satisfaction among major travel sites.
Southwest Airlines scored an 8.62 rating out of 10, while its Web site attracted 4.0 million unique visitors in March 2001. Expedia followed after Southwest, scoring an 8.09 in customer satisfaction and drew 8.2 million unique visitors in March (see Table 1). Continental Airlines generated a 7.97 rating and had 1.7 million visitors. Travelocity took the No. 4 spot with a 7.94 rating in customer satisfaction while traffic to the site totaled nearly 8.0 million visitors. Rounding out the top five was United Airlines, which scored a 7.76 rating and saw 2.4 million visitors. The rankings for customer satisfaction include factors such as site ease-of-use, information availability, flight options, pricing, duration of shopping experience, and customer service. “Online travel agencies and airline sites alike are competing for traveller dollars by offering an ever increasing range of options, including complete travel planning, vacation packages, last minutes flight promotions, and frequent flyer programmes,” said Sean Kaldor, vice president of eCommerce, NetRatings.
Findings from eCommercePulse, collected from an online survey of more than 39,000 Web users, show that spending for the online travel sector totalled more than $1.03 billion in March 2001, jumping 59% from April 2000. Offline spending generated by online travel shopping produced an additional $506 million dollars in revenue.
“Travel is continually the largest online shopping category. To maintain this high level of online spending and aggressive growth, the industry continues to entice shoppers with new innovations such as Hotwire and the impending launch of Orbitz,” added Mr. Kaldor.
The eCommercePulse service integrates eCommerce survey data collected from Harris Interactive`s online panel of more than seven million users with data and insights from Nielsen//NetRatings` Internet audience measurement panel. eCommercePulse is the first single-source eCommerce intelligence service for merchants, investors and suppliers.
Covering more than 300 eCommerce sites across 14 key vertical markets, eCommercePulse provides integrated monthly reports on eCommerce behaviour, trends and spending (both online spending and offline spending that result from online shopping).
Critical information on purchaser and revenue share, and customer satisfaction metrics, including market-level and site-level traffic, enables companies to make informed, strategic business decisions.
Harris Interactive, the global leader in online market research, uses Internet-based and traditional methodologies to provide its clients with critical knowledge concerning the views, experiences, behaviours and attitudes of people worldwide. Known for its Harris Poll, Harris Interactive has 45 years of experience in providing its clients with market research and polling services including custom, multi-client and service bureau research, as well as customer relationship management services. Harris Interactive acquired the custom research group of Yankelovich Partners in February 2001. Through its U.S. and Global Network offices, Harris Interactive conducts research around the world, in multiple, localised languages, using its proprietary technology to survey its database of more than 7 million online panelists.