PhoCusWright released the seventh version of its "Consumer Travel Trends Survey" early this month, and it is showing some interesting trends at the top of the travel food chain (air, hotels car rental) that all travel businesses can take heed of.
- Convenience has overtaken price as the key motivator for travel purchase online. This is a great opportunity for websites that to date have needed to keep pace with operational efficiencies and inventory management to keep prices competitive. This shift will allow online players to work more on presenting the value of time saving measures and other forms of convenience to draw additional customers.
- This trends towards convenience was more marked in respondents who tended to use one site to purchase their travel versus those who purchased from multiple sites. 37 percent of people who purchased using just one site cites convenience versus 25 percent who looked for values. This is flipped for purchasers who use multiple sites: 28 percent cited discounts versus 21 percent who cited convenience.
- The number of Americans purchasing travel online grew another 14 percent in 2004, up to 40 million people.
According to ClickZ Stats, online travel purchases reached about 23 percent of all travel purchases in the U.S. in 2004 and is forecast to reach 33 percent by 2009. This absolutely huge compared to numbers for overall non-travel retail online purchases, which have reached only about 4.6 percent of all retail purchases.
Though the impact of the Internet on travel is obvious, the numbers start to show the incredible scope.