Orbitz.com recently kicked off of a campaign to celebrate its 10th anniversary with the results of a "Then vs. Now" consumer survey that examines how travel has evolved over the past 10 years. The Orbitz 10th anniversary celebration will run through the remainder of 2011.
"As we celebrate the 10th anniversary of Orbitz.com, we're launching with a survey that captures how traveler sentiment has changed over the past decade," said Jeanenne Tornatore, senior editor of Orbitz.com. "Price remained an important theme for consumers throughout the survey results with comparison shopping and innovations like Orbitz Price Assurance receiving incredibly high approval ratings among consumers."
Orbitz.com fielded a survey of 1,000 U.S. travelers that have taken at least one trip over the past 12 months to see how their travel expectations and experiences have changed since the launch of Orbitz in 2001.
Some survey highlights include:
Despite headlines about rising prices, tarmac delays and increased taxes and fees, 71 percent of travelers feel that travel overall is better today versus 10 years ago.
61 percent of travelers believe that the ability to comparison shop online is the best thing about travel in 2011 versus 2001.
81 percent feel the worst thing is extra airline charges such as baggage fees and paying for meals.
While mobile technology is the wave of the future, 76 percent of travelers with mobile devices have not booked travel via their smart phone or tablet.
32 percent of consumers still don't own a smartphone or tablet.
33 percent of consumers said that calling around to different hotels and airlines topped the list of how they comparison shopped and booked travel before products were available online.
46 percent of travelers said they take more long-weekend getaways now versus 10 years ago.
Only 6 percent said they had engaged in some form eco-tourism in their travels. In fact only 5 percent of travelers identified green travel offerings at Orbitz (the ability to rent a hybrid car or book a green hotel) as one of the company's most important innovations.
34 percent of travelers said their favorite thing about travel is that it allows them to spend more time with family and friends.
Consumers said that their three favorite things about travel overall now, versus 10 years ago, is the ability to comparison shop online (61 percent), online booking and check-in (52 percent) and access to more deals and discounts (51 percent).
According to the survey, travelers felt that the best thing about the in-flight air travel experience is the ability to choose seats (27 percent), just beating out the safety travelers experience on airlines now (25 percent) and the introduction of Wi-Fi on planes (20 percent).
Specific to the hotel experience, travelers liked the ability to find more hotel deals and promotions when booking (32 percent), with expedited check-in/check-out coming in second (16 percent).
Consumers felt that the three worst things about travel now, versus 10 years ago, are ancillary fees airlines charge for items such as pre-boarding and checked baggage (81 percent), fluctuating prices of airfares and/or hotel rates (62 percent) and increased security procedures and rules (59 percent).
When consumers were asked specifically about their gripes with the in-flight experience, there was a virtual tie between travelers who believe that delays and cancelations topped the list (36 percent) versus no more free food or drinks on flights (35 percent).
How Travelers are Connecting
Last year, Orbitz introduced its mobile app for iPhone and Android. Despite seeing an increase in bookings through the mobile Web (m.orbitz.com), Orbitz found that 76 percent of those travelers surveyed who own a mobile device (iPhone, Android, BlackBerry or iPad, Galaxy Tab) have not used their phone or tablet to book travel. In fact, the survey found that nearly one-third (32 percent) of those questioned still do not own a smartphone or tablet.
Nevertheless, Orbitz is predicting that mobile bookings will be the next wave of innovation within the online travel industry.