Travelers’ use of the Internet to plan and book their trips continues to grow, albeit at a slower pace, according to the Travel Industry Association of America’s
(TIA) latest Travelers’ Use of the Internet study. Nearly 64 million online travelers—30 percent of the U.S. adult population—used the Internet in the past year to get travel and destination information. Of that group, 44.6 million actually booked at least one travel service or product online in the past year.Nearly 64 million online travelers—30 percent of the U.S. adult population—used the Internet in the past year to get travel and destination information. Of that group, 44.6 million actually booked at least one travel service or product online in the past year.
The number of Americans using the Internet for travel planning remains stable at 63.8 million, reflecting slower growth in general Internet use among the traveling population. Still, the number of travelers who actually book airline tickets, hotel rooms and other travel services online continues to grow. TIA’s new report shows that nearly 45 million people—nearly three-quarters of all online travel planners—booked travel over the Internet in the past year, up nearly six percent from one year ago. And the number of online bookers doing all of their travel booking online continues to grow, with 40 percent now doing so, versus 29 percent a year ago.
“The tremendous increase in travelers booking all their travel online signifies a major shift in consumer preference when it comes to planning and booking travel,” remarked Dr. Suzanne Cook, senior vice president of research for the Travel Industry Association of America. “The Internet has put consumers in control of their plans and they like it. They’re able to gather all the facts they need and compare prices and options to obtain what they feel are the best deals possible.”
Airline tickets continued to be the most frequently purchased travel products online, reported by 82 percent of all online travel bookers, up from 75 percent in 2003. This was followed by accommodations at 67 percent and rental cars/RVs at 40 percent. Compared to a year ago, there was also notable growth in online travel bookers purchasing travel packages (16% vs. 12%) and tickets for tours or excursions (11% vs. 4%). Online travel bookers spent an average of $2,700 in online travel purchases in the past year, up from $2,600 the previous year.
The use of email to market travel promotions has become an effective tool for travel suppliers such as hotels and airlines to generate additional business. Over 36 million online travelers have signed up with a travel supplier website or online travel service to receive email offers and promotions. In addition, nearly 11 million say they have taken a trip they otherwise would not have taken based on an emailed travel promotion, discount or offer.