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U.S. Travel Buyers Looking For More When Booking a Hotel

August 19, 2008 By: George Dooley

Despite increased rates and increasing economic pressures last year, hotel was the top component purchased by online travel shoppers in the U.S., beating out airline tickets, according to a recent report by PhoCusWright, a major research firm.

The report, The PhoCusWright Consumer Travel Trends Survey 10th Edition, finds that this growth can be ascribed, in part, to consumers' need for a change in venue to really disengage when traveling for leisure. Travel buyers also enjoy the ability to find deals, inventory and more unique hotel options online than ever before.

"Online travel agencies benefited well from this trend, attracting consumers through great availability at a wide breadth of hotel options," said Susan Steinbrink, senior research and corporate market analyst at PhoCusWright. "But they too will feel the impact that the 2008 recession and flight capacity reductions will have on the hotel sector."

The PhoCusWright survey is a nationally representative survey of online travelers that collects data on and analyzes a range of travel shopping and purchase behavior. While focusing primarily on leisure travelers, this edition also probes the behavior of frequent business travelers.

Among the report's findings:
The U.S. travel market continued its growth in 2007, and saw an upswing in the online traveler population— defined as 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. With half of online travelers using the same purchase channel for leisure as they do for business travel, providers have a robust opportunity to cross-sell. Social media dominates as online travelers turn more often to other travelers and their experiences than to published and expert sources for travel information.


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