Six Online Travel Industry Myths Debunked

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Online travel research provided by PhoCusWright Inc.

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Through this Analyst Forum, we were able to educate attendees about online travel myths and the realities in consumer behavior and to paint a picture of the new distribution landscape so that they can better assess their channel partners, such as travel agencies.

Online Travel Industry Myth #1: The number of online travel buyers in the U.S. is declining. In fact, that number is on the rise, as documented in The PhoCusWright Consumer Travel Trends Tenth Edition recently published by the travel industry research firm PhoCusWright Inc. In 2007, approximately 70% of online travelers (that is, adults who have taken a commercial air trip and stayed at a hotel for leisure in the past year, and used the Internet in the past 30 days) bought travel online, compared to 63% in 2006.

PhoCusWright dispelled this piece of misinformation -- and debunked five additional online travel myths -- at its first-ever Analyst Forum, held September 10 in New York City.

In addition to the misconception that online travel buyers are declining, The PhoCusWright Analyst Forum corrected these five other online travel myths:

Online Travel Industry Myth #2. More and more online travel shoppers use supplier sites than online travel agencies. While this belief is widespread in the travel industry, it is simply untrue, according to PhoCusWright. In terms of popularity, online travel agencies are making a comeback (source: PhoCusWright's Consumer Travel Trends Survey Tenth Edition (CTTS10).

Online Travel Industry Myth #3. Travel agencies are experiencing a resurgence as travelers return to traditional purchasing channels. Not so. In reality, even many formerly exclusive offline buyers are migrating online for travel shopping and buying, according to CTTS10.

Online Travel Industry Myth #4. The next generation of travelers prefers to do everything online. The truth is, less than half of what 18-28 year olds spend on travel is spent online, according to The NEXTgen Travelerâ„¢ report, jointly published by PhoCusWright and Y partnership.

Online Travel Industry Myth #5. Social networks and travel reviews have the greatest influence on travel decision-making. The NEXTgen Travelerâ„¢ report reveals that while social media is widespread, destination Web sites and online travel agencies are favored by nearly half of next generation travelers during the travel shopping process.

Online Travel Industry Myth #6. Online travel markets need high credit card and Internet penetration to succeed. The structure and ambitions of the travel marketplace are even more important drivers than infrastructure. Case in point is India, one of the most dynamic online travel marketplaces today, where roughly 98% of the India population do not use credit cards or have access to the Internet.

The sold-out Analyst Forum provided attendees with a clearer understanding of the realities of the online travel marketplace, offering facts, figures and insights for strategic planning and decision-making, especially as attendees find themselves engaged in 2009 budget planning.

"Nobody wants to make strategic errors based on bad information," said Lorraine Sileo, vice president, research for PhoCusWright. "Through this Analyst Forum, we were able to educate attendees about online travel myths and the realities in consumer behavior and to paint a picture of the new distribution landscape so that they can better assess their channel partners, such as travel agencies."

PhoCusWright's Analyst Forum will continue to take place on a quarterly basis in New York City featuring a research and analysis on a variety of travel, tourism and hospitality topics.

About PhoCusWright Inc.

PhoCusWright is the travel industry research authority on how travelers, suppliers and intermediaries connect. Independent, rigorous and unbiased, PhoCusWright fosters smart strategic planning and tactical decision-making.

PhoCusWright delivers qualitative and quantitative research on the evolving dynamics that influence travel, tourism and hospitality distribution. Our marketplace intelligence is the industry standard for segmentation, sizing, forecasting, trends, analysis and consumer travel planning behavior. Every day around the world, senior executives, marketers, strategists and research professionals from all segments of the industry value chain use PhoCusWright research for competitive advantage.

To complement its primary research in North America, Europe and Asia, PhoCusWright produces several high-profile conferences in the U.S., Germany and India, and partners with conferences in the U.K., China and Singapore. Industry leaders and company analysts bring this intelligence to life by debating issues, sharing ideas and defining the ever-evolving reality of travel commerce.

The company is headquartered in the United States, with offices in Germany and India.

Contact:
Lorraine Sileo
+1 860 350-4084 x130
lsileo@phocuswright.com

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Lorraine Sileo
PhoCusWright Inc.
1-860-350-4084 +130
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