Travel package sales shows online rise

JupiterResearch has found that there has been a more than 40 percent increase in package sales during 2006 among online U.S. travelers requiring multiple products.This comes after relatively flat growth between 2004 and 2005. The findings are detailed in a new report, “US Travel Consumer Survey, 2006.”

“In 2005, 29 percent of travelers requiring multiple travel products purchased a package; in 2006, this increased to 41 percent,” said Diane Clarkson, Analyst at JupiterResearch and author of the report. “This growth is largely influenced by strong packaging promotions implemented by major online travel agencies, where virtually all of these sales are occurring.”

The research also finds the likelihood that online air travelers will book their flights through an online travel agency increases with the number of Web sites they research. Among online air travelers who visited four or more Web sites while researching their most recent trip, 56 percent purchased their flights through an online travel agency, while only 32 percent purchased on an airline Web site. At the same time, frequent travelers show a preference for supplier Web sites.

General search engines remain the most important media prompt among online travel researchers, at 17 percent. Despite garnering extensive media attention during the past year, travel meta search engines have not yet attracted a significant proportion of online travel buyers. Only four percent of online travelers say a travel search engine impelled them to plan or purchase their most recent trip.

“Travel meta search engines are now offering expanded products and several have relationships with major distribution partners such as Yahoo!, AOL and Amazon,” said David Schatsky, President of JupiterKagan. “With this, travel meta search engines are poised to grow.”