All indications are that more and more people are booking their Summer trips online, which is great for our industry. The problem arises when the surfing takes place during worktime on a company computer.Websense estimates organisations nationwide could potentially lose $18 billion this year in total lost productivity due to employees surfing travel sites at work.
EIM software, such as Websense Enterprise, helps organisations manage employee Internet access in a flexible way by utilising eight different management options. For example, by configuring the Quotas option in Websense Enterprise v4.3, IT administrators could set up 30 minutes of personal surfing time daily for each employee to use for online travel planning.
According to research from Gomez Inc. and Nielsen//NetRatings, of the 54 million visitors to online travel sites, more than 36 million surf from work. And a 2001 Jupiter Consumer Survey reported 58 percent of American online consumers research vacation plans via the Web. In fact, 60 percent of online airline-ticket consumers visit two or three sites before purchasing, while 25 percent report visiting four or more.
These visits ultimately mean big bucks for the industry, as online travel purchases will more than triple in the next five years, from $18 billion in 2000 to $63 billion in 2006, according to Jupiter Media Metrix. Last month alone, traffic to Hotwire.com spiked more than 78 percent to 501,000 visitors and CheapTickets.com jumped 40 percent to 379,000. In addition, travel sites are transitioning to package models, offering low prices and services for air travel, cruises, hotels, car rentals and vacation packages. One-stop shops, such as Expedia, Travelocity and the newly-launched Orbitz, promise consumers up-to-date information about the lowest fares available across the Web. With 61 percent of online travelers citing price as the most important purchasing factor, corporations are often left footing the bill, as employees search for lower and lower fares using high-speed connections at work.
“Summer travel planning doesn`t have to cost corporate America billions of dollars in lost productivity every year,” said Andrew Meyer, vice president for Websense Inc. “By using flexible, adaptive EIM software, companies can strike the right balance between personal and work-related surfing of the Internet. It`s a win-win for both employers and employees.”