Online Travel Industrie gaat gouden toekomst tegemoet
Althans, dat is de verwachting van Jupiter Research. Voor de meeste Europese landen verwacht Jupiter een toename van meer dan 300% in 2007. Deze gunstige groeicijfers worden min of meer bevestigd door een recent onderzoek door comScore Media Metrix.
Online travel is an important component of consumer e-commerce. Data from the US indicates that travel constitutes the largest online revenue category, accounting for approximately one-third of total e-commerce.
Consumers are drawn to shopping for airline tickets online because of volatile prices that respond quickly to demand and the complexity of configuration.
Jupiter Research expects Europe’s three largest economies—the UK, Germany and France—to experience tremendous growth in online travel through 2007. The UK is expected to lead the charge, with sales of EUR 7.3 million—up from its 2002 market-leading number of EUR 2.2 million. Germany and France are expected to narrow the gap somewhat. Both countries will grow from 2002 sales of under EUR 1.3 million and EUR 1.1 million to EUR 6.1 million and EUR 5.5 million. Online travel sales in Germany will grow at 370% in the five-year time frame while in France sales will exactly quadruple. Sweden and Switzerland will continue to remain under the EUR 1 million mark, according to the market researcher.
Travel: Largest Category Of Consumer Spending Online
Travel is by far the largest category of consumer spending on the Internet. That’s according to the latest report from comScore Media Metrix, which says that spending on travel grew 31% in Q1 2003 versus year-ago, significantly outpacing non-travel spending, which increased by 17% in the same period. While airline tickets have traditionally accounted for approximately two-thirds of all online travel sales, a significant reduction in ticket commissions has led many major online travel suppliers to place an increased emphasis on hotel and package sales.
As the largest category of consumer spending on the Web, online travel is clearly an Internet success story, comScore found. Consumers spent $9.1 billion on travel in the first quarter of 2003, representing growth of 31% versus Q1 2002. This growth rate significantly outpaced non-travel spending, which increased 17% versus Q1 2002 to $11.8 billion.
While airline tickets have traditionally accounted for approximately two-thirds of all online travel sales, a significant reduction in ticket commissions has led many major online travel suppliers to place an increased emphasis on hotel and package sales. Utilizing a number of business models, online travel consolidators such as Expedia, Hotels.com and Orbitz have been extremely successful in selling hotel reservations and packages online.
But their success hasn’t gone unnoticed by the major hotel operators. Anxious to sell directly to consumers, hotel operators have for some time aggressively promoted their individually branded sites. And last week brought the official launch of TravelWeb.com, a new consolidator site that is the result of a partnership between industry leaders including Hilton, Hyatt, Intercontinental, Marriott, Priceline and Starwood.
Looking to recover revenue lost due to reduced airline commissions, many online travel agencies have focused on hotels and package sales, which often carry much higher profit margins. By combining a number of travel components (such as airfare and a hotel room), online agencies can deliver an attractive package price to consumers without revealing the price of any specific component of the trip – thus protecting each suppliers’ pricing integrity. So it’s little surprise that while packages and all other travel is the smallest online travel sub-category, it grew by an impressive 97% versus year-ago.
Expedia and Hotels.com, both subsidiaries of InterActiveCorp (previously known as USA Interactive), are among the most successful travel agencies at selling hotels on the Internet. Expedia – the largest online travel agency – has been the leader in selling travel packages online. And while all major online agencies provide access to hotel inventory, Hotels.com is the only truly “hotel-centric” site to rank among the top ten in the Travel category.
With the summer travel season heating up, the Hotels/Resorts category grew by 15% from April to May. Nearly 5.4 million people visited Hotels.com in May, more than twice as many visitors as the second ranked site in the Hotels/Resorts category, Marriott. Currently, the partnership of hotel operators that own Travelweb collectively reaches more than 7.2 million (unduplicated) unique visitors, highlighting the significant opportunity for Travelweb inherent in the substantial equity of these brands.
Travel is a price-sensitive and time-sensitive product for all parties: an unsold airline seat cannot be sold once a plane has departed, and for most consumers, travel must be taken during specific time windows. Unlike other product categories – such as apparel – travel does not have to be touched or tried on before purchase.
Lodging is arguably less of a commodity than air travel, given the importance of the specific location, appearance and amenities of each property. Here again the Web adds value to the shopping experience, with the availability of detailed location information, images, and even virtual, 360-degree property tours.
The Web puts fast, powerful comparison-shopping and buying tools in the hands of increasingly sophisticated consumers, allowing them to buy the right product at the right price and time. At the same time, providers and agencies efficiently move otherwise unsold inventory. In few other industries is there such an ideal match of product and sales medium.