Travel Weekly's Home-based Agent E-letter: July 11, 2005

KNOW YOUR COMPETITION: Convenience is edging out price as the most effective decision-driver for online travel package buyers, a PhoCusWright survey found. In 2004, 28% of shoppers purchasing a combination of airline tickets and hotel accommodations from the same Web site said they did so to save time, compared to 27% who cited discounts as their incentive, according to the research firms Consumer Travel Trends Survey, Seventh Edition. The effect was even more pronounced among those who tended to be loyal to one site: Among those who used just one Web site to buy travel, 37% cited convenience and 25% were looking for discounts.

THE STUDY found that the number of adult Americans buying travel online increased by 14% in 2004 to 40 million. "Those sub-segments of online travelers that have a significantly higher incidence of online travel shopping and purchasing tend to be the more seasoned travelers and savvy Internet veterans," said PhoCusWright analyst and report author Susan Steinbrink. Specifically, she noted, those predisposed to shop and purchase travel online tend to purchase combinations of components, favor online travel agencies, use multiple sites to purchase trip components and be men under the age of 45.

AMONG OTHER notable findings from the survey:

* Half of all online combination purchases consist of air and hotel; 24% are air, hotel and car; 23% are air and car; and just 4% are hotel and car.

* More hotel chains are pushing their way onto the list of the top three Web sites used for hotel reservations, as Hilton and Marriott outpaced Hotels.com and Priceline.com, and contributed to declines for Expedia and Travelocity.

* Business travel rebounded, with 44% of respondents saying they had taken a flight on business, up from 33% in 2003 (and favorably comparing to the flat 90-91% who flew for leisure trips).

DATEBOOK

The Student Youth Travel Associations annual travel conference is scheduled for Sept. 17 to 21 in Memphis at the Memphis Cook Convention Center. For information, log onto www.syta.org or call (800) 509-7982.

 
FAM OF THE WEEK

Asia

Departure: Aug. 21 from Bangkok, land only.

Length: 10 nights.

Sponsor: Abercrombie & Kent, Oak Brook, Ill.

Cost: $2,011 per person, double. Includes hotel accommodations, most meals, transfers and sightseeing. Air within Asia is priced at about $987 additional.

Trip: Visits Bangkok; Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, Cambodia; Hong Kong; and Hanoi, Vietnam.

Noteworthy: The single supplement is $540; companions are eligible at a rate of $2,161.

Contact: (800) 323-7308; fax: (630) 954-3324; e-mail: [email protected].

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