Per the 2006 YPB&R/Yankelovich National Leisure Travel Monitor?, more than six in ten leisure travelers use the Internet or an online service to obtain information and prices, a significantly higher proportion than last year.
On average, these consumers have done so for more trips this year than last (2.8 vs. 2.4). While the incidence of making a reservation online is unchanged this year compared to the prior 12 months, the average number of trips booked online shows an increase.
Among leisure travelers who have used the Internet to make a reservation in the past 12 months, eight in ten indicate they have made a hotel reservation - a significantly higher proportion than last year. Two-thirds report making an airline reservation online in comparison to about four in ten who have made a car reservation online. The incidence of booking a complete vacation package online shows a slight increase - though not a statistically significant one - with nearly one-quarter reporting the behavior. Almost one in ten now book a cruise reservation online.
Among technology users who seek information on the Internet, more than one-fourth purport to have visited a Web log or “blog” to review information about a destination or travel service supplier in the last 12 months. This pattern reinforces the emerging of travel communities. It is a reflection of our social climate commentary of “linking me AND we.” Participation in “blogs” is a manifestation of valuing the importance of individuality AND community; standing alone AND being together; self-reliance AND collective strength. Among those who have visited a blog, MySpace.com is the preferred site, followed closely by TripAdvisor.com, Ysearchblog.com (Yahoo! Search Blog) and VirtualTourist.com.
When searching for hotel or resort accommodations online, approximately seven in ten leisure travelers mention going to the Web site of an online travel agency like Expedia, Travelocity or Priceline. Nearly seven in ten mention using a search engine like Google, Yahoo and MSN. Approximately six in ten search the Web site of a specific hotel chain, and approximately one-half searches the Web site of a specific hotel or resort. Nearly four in ten leisure travelers state they would use the Web site of an online travel agency first when
searching hotel or resort accommodations online. They would use the Web site of a specific hotel chain second and the Web site of a specific hotel or resort third.
Three-quarters of leisure travelers mention using the Web site of an online travel agency as well when searching airfares online - these Web sites are also searched first. A similar proportion, though, uses the Web site of a specific airline - which is searched second.
When it comes to searching vacation options online, nearly two-thirds of leisure travelers would use search engines like Google, Yahoo or MSN. A similar proportion would use the Web site of an online travel agency. Nearly one-half would use the Web site of a specific hotel or hotel chain. Approximately four in ten would search the Web site of a specific national tourist office or destination promotion board.
By Gary C. Sain
Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown & Russell
YPBRi is a full-service Interactive agency, located within the walls of Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown and Russell. We not only complement the traditional marketing services of our parent company, providing a truly integrated marketing solution, we also operate independently allowing us to serve many diverse clients, industries and vertical markets - around the country and around the world.
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