this article by eMarketer covers the same study I reported on a few days ago. It states the fact that more people research travel online than book it, which seems logical to me.
The most important chart to me is this last one
The gap between online and the rest of the methods is huge. It confirms that the potential exists for future online travel growth.
The challenge for this potential to be exploited remains the level of innovation that online travel players will introduce in the market place to make the experience easier, more compelling and pleasant with instant availability of entire vacation product combinations. That, as stated in the article, are the key drivers.
In the last few days Expedia has announce the waiver of booking fees and Hotels.com of booking and change fees. This is in response to the inroads suppliers have made into their sale of individual components. It will be increasingly hard for intermediaries, irrespective of size, to protect their position in this segment as the added value is hard to claim vs. suppliers.
As I’ve stated many times before, their way forward is vacation package sales but in a much improved fashion than is done today, by offering truly dynamic packaging, integrate web 2.0 tools, including user generated content and social networking. The public will respond to such a new value proposition as the chart above clearly states. A much higher percentage of those vacation planners will actually decide book once that happens.