Travel Industry Reports

Selection Outpaces Price as Primary Online “Buy” Motivator

According to the travel industry reports, overwhelmingly, the strongest rationale for buying travel via a different method than the one used for shopping varies based on the channel used for purchasing and has evolved as the online channel matures. After shopping offline, it is “broad selection” that motivates 37% of online travel buyers to purchase online. Conversely, when purchasing offline (after having shopped online), “preferred brand” drives the decision to purchase, as 33% of travel buyers specifically seek out a company or brand that they trust.

While travel decisions are still primarily based on price, price is not as pivotal an influencer in determining what channel is used for purchasing. Interestingly, “lower price/rate” was mentioned at a rate half that of both “broad selection” and “preferred brand” when choosing whether to purchase online (15%) and offline (11%). Greater reliance on non-price factors can be attributed to the maturity of the Internet channel and the savvy of online travel buyers as they have been conditioned to seek out non-price value propositions for online purchasing. This is exemplified when comparing

these findings with responses from a similar question in 2005. Here, “lower prices” was mentioned as the primary reason for switching the method used for shopping and buying in the travel industry, reports among 51% of online travel buyers.

Travel Industry Reports

As online travelers shop and purchase travel on the Internet, there are a number of elements that can affect what type of travel is purchased and where. A Web site’s visual features are important in influencing where leisure travel is purchased. Of the five features examined, more than seven in 10 indicated that it is a Web site’s use of video and pictures (81%) and online maps (71%) that most influence the method of purchase for leisure travel. Thereafter, online travelers are looking for technology to provide traveler referrals (52%) and simulate agent advice (52%) through additional Web site support features. Serving as a real-time, electronic brochure, rich media becomes even more influential the more complex the travel purchase. Eighty-two percent and 88% of online vacation package and combination purchasers, respectively, indicate this feature to be quite influential in determining on what Web site travel will be purchased, according to the travel industry reports.