Internet Travel Planning Up; Frequent Flyers Hop Sites

Internet Travel Planning Up; Frequent Flyers Hop Sites

Consumers are turning to the Internet in unprecedented number for their summer travel planning and purchasing needs, according to independent research conducted by Feedback Research, a division of the Claria Corporation.

By analyzing the actual online traffic and conducting a survey among a sample of Claria’s tens of millions of software users, Feedback Research was able to gain insight into online travel research and purchasing habits.

Results indicated that consumers are still taking a trip to the Internet for their travel planning and purchasing needs, with 88 percent of survey respondents who went or are planning to go on summer vacation using or planning to use the Internet to research and/or purchase their summer vacation arrangements this year

Low prices seem to be the key driver for consumers researching and buying travel for their summer vacations this year: 78 percent chose the site(s) they typically purchase from because of good prices/rates. Interestingly just 28 percent did so because of loyalty or frequent flyer programs.

Consumers, perhaps looking for a low-cost travel deal, seemed to site-hop between general travel sites and major airline sites. Over half of those who viewed Delta.com, United.com or Southwest.com during research period, also viewed Orbitz.com.

In recent years, airline and hotel companies have made major strides in moving customers to their own Web sites. Not only does online booking decrease personnel costs, but many companies found themselves in a losing position with third-party brokers like Priceline. As a result, most loyalty programs no longer award miles or points for travel or stays booked through such brokers.

It would appear, though, that despite many companies offering “best rate guarantees,” consumers are still using the other sites for comparison shopping, then hopping to the proprietary sites in order to earn the miles and points.

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