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Web travel buyers choose price over convenience

When it comes down to buying leisure travel online, it’s all about price. Despite efforts to “raise the bar” by offering consumers convenience, ease-of-use and customer service, a recent PhoCusWright survey of 500 “online travelers” found that price, above all, is the motivating factor for purchasing airline tickets online. Of the online travelers responding to the survey, 61% cite “price” as the most important factor in buying an airline ticket, while only 15% cite “getting the best connections” and another 15%, “using a preferred airline” (an additional 9% cite “other”). The results were released in this month’s issue of The PhoCusWright Report, “Marketing Leading Online Travel Services: When Intermediation Matters.“Because of consumers’ tendency to gravitate toward price, travel agencies have the edge over suppliers when it comes to serving the online customer. More than 70% of the online travelers express confidence that booking through an online travel agency or an offline travel agency will get them the best price. But only 47% think they can get the best deal going direct to the carriers.
“These figures do not necessarily mean the consumer always expects a lower price when buying travel online,” said Lorraine Sileo, vice president of information services for PhoCusWright, Inc. “It simply means that consumers expect to get the comprehensive information they need online to make an informed decision based on price and value.”
“Price also is the best means to attract new customers,” she said. When travelers who haven’t bought online are asked what could get them to do so, 64% say saving money would make them much more interested. No other benefit - saving time, getting bonus miles, taking control, obtaining better information - gets anywhere close to that level of response.
When isn’t it all about price? Sileo said frequent business travelers are much less price-sensitive. Only 48% of frequent business travelers say price is the most important factor when buying tickets online. Only 25% cite “getting the best connections” and another 17%, “using a preferred airline” (an additional 10% cite “other”).
The PhoCusWright Report, “Marketing Leading Online Travel Services: When Intermediation Matters,” is part of The PhoCusWright Report series of insight, commentary and analysis for the online travel marketplace. The report examines marketing issues, popular features, intermediation trends and top online travel services. The results were gleaned from The PhoCusWright Travel eCommerce Survey, a national random sample telephone survey of online travelers - American adults who’ve flown by commercial air carrier in the last year and visited Web sites in the last month.
For more information about The PhoCusWright Report and The PhoCusWright Travel eCommerce Survey, contact +1 860 350-4084 ext. 410 or [email protected]
PhoCusWright, Inc. is an independent strategy and research company that helps its clients understand the online travel marketplace and make competitively advantaged decisions. Established in 1994, PhoCusWright is headquartered in Sherman, Connecticut, and has offices in New York City’s Silicon Alley
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