Business Travel

Online travel arena set to heat up

An online Logan Tod study, carried out by YouGov, confirms British holiday-goers are increasingly using the internet to research and book holidays online, with 40% of respondents choosing not to visit a travel agent in the last two years.Matthew Tod, CEO of Logan Tod & Co. believes the results indicate that online travel sites can no long rely on market growth to boost sales and must optimise their customer experience to secure travel bookings.

The study reveals that 67% of online British holiday-makers intend to conduct most or all of their travel planning online next year, while only 4% will avoid the internet for travel purposes in the next 12 months with 11% unsure.

“Our research found people are using the internet when booking holidays because it is easier and quicker (84%); the ability to find better prices online (82%); and the fact an online travel agent is open at all hours (76%),” says Matthew Tod. “But with so many people already using the internet when planning their holidays, online travel companies can no longer depend upon migration from the high street to fuel sales. The market is about to become far more competitive.”

76% of holiday planning Brits use the internet to research their destinations, but only 66% will use it to book flights and accommodation. These sales rates could be improved if websites enhance their design and navigation to become more user-friendly.

The study also shows that online holidaying Brits place far greater trust in friends, family (70%) and fellow travellers through online reviews (47%) than they do in travel agents (22%) or newspapers (25%) when seeking travel advice. However, the need for travel agents should not be underestimated as 46% of online holidaying respondents still visit travel agents to collect destination brochures which will impact on online travel decisions.

“By placing greater trust in friends, family and online reviews from fellow travelers, people are removing control from travel operators when obtaining advice. Travel agents and operators need to invest in websites that make the planning and booking process as quick and simple as possible and use customer generated content to build trust,” advises Matthew Tod.

Supporting statistics:
– 66% use the internet to book flight and/or accommodation
– Top reasons for booking online are: easier and quicker process (84%); better prices (82%);and 24 hour availability (76%)
– 70% trust advice from friends and family when booking online;
– 47% trust online reviews from travelers;
– Only 22% trust advice from travel agents or holiday companies
– 56% of respondents cite the internet as their favourite method of booking holidays, while 8% prefer using the telephone.

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