Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Travellers say no to high-street package prison

High-street packaged holiday companies take note: Consumers want out of your 7 to 14 day prison!

According to a recent poll of 1,000 consumers, 64% of Britons prefer to use the web to research and book a holiday of their own making.

This growth in online booking has created, what price comparison website Travelsupermarket.com terms, the "pickage holiday" –where consumers pick and book all the elements separately rather than going with a pre-arranged package.

Separate research by Travelsupermarket.com found holiday hunters aged 25 to 34 are the most likely to book online (surprise, surprise), with 68% stating they use the Internet to make travel arrangements.

The survey of 2,300 consumers found only 16% of 25-34 year-olds would consider phoning or going into a travel agent. In 1999 that figure stood at nearly 50%.

The research, which was conducted by YouGov, found 38% more people now book their holidays online than with a travel agent. Back in 1999, 39% more people booked through a travel agent than online.

(Well, that certainly explains the recent spate of high street closures and mergers)

Responding to the findings, Bob Atkinson, flights manager at Travelsupermarket.com, said, “It may not be the end of the high street travel agent, but we have certainly entered a completely new era in holiday booking".

Lesson of the day: Restrict the modern-day consumer, especially the young, at your peril!

By Tricia Holly Davis

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Anonymous said...

I Just love to read Noel Josephides comments on Travelsupermarket these days.

Joe Buhler said...

These figures don't surprise me one bit. This trend has been evident for a few years now, not only in the U.S. but Europe.

A study by the Conference Board in the U.S. on Online Travel Planning reported in eMarketer at http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?id=1005141
shows that 58% of U.S. internet users - that's not online travelers as defined by PhoCusWright - but overall internet users use the web for vacation - pardon me, holiday! - planning.

How many of those do we think will then decide to go offline, call a travel agent and start all over again when it comes to making a booking?

My humble guess, fewer, and fewer every month and year.

The only thing that prevents them from finishing the entire process online is the often still frustrating user experience when it comes to booking a more complex trip to multiple destinations. That's where the challenge for online travel companies lies. To expand their business profitably they will need to offer a superior, integrated buying experience all the way from planning & research to the booking.

Web 2.0 tools need to be integrated into this process to make this compelling, especially for the younger generation now growing up online, but also for more mature customers who increasingly are web savvy.

It will be interesting to see who offers this type of service from the growing crowd of travel providers who are all getting into the game.

I've got yet to see one that does it all!

Anonymous said...

Interesting article did a litlle research on Pickage holidays and came across a few good names that might have worked unfortuantely they have been taken... www.picknmixholidyays.com for example :( there were others as well ...