Travel Report

Overview: U.S. Online Leadership Is Not Just Numeric

America is the clear leader of the world’s online travel report markets. U.S. intermediary conglomerates wield sig­nificant clout in Europe and are pressing ahead in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region. In 2005, the U.S. represented just one third of total travel bookings in the three key economic regions of the world – North America, Western Europe and APAC But America registered over 60% of these markets’ online travel bookings.

The Travel Report:

Not only does the U.S. dominate the online segment of the travel report in three key markets in terms of raw numbers, but many technologies and techniques such as dynamic packaging and metasearch have incubated in the U.S. before expand­ing to other markets. Yet the providers of next generation travel distribution and marketing technology are spread across the world, and the U.S. share of these markets will slip to just over half by 2008.

So if its share and technical supremacy is waning, why should the U.S. market remain such a bellwether and spectacle for businesses with stakes in the global travel market?

The answer is not just in the numbers; it is in the behavior and demands of the consumer. The leadership of the U.S. is not limited to the clout of consolidation, the weight of revenue share, or the local introduction of new technologies and business models. Though the regional markets differ vastly in many crucial areas, much of the world looks to the U.S. to visualize the impact and results of a travel market that is increasingly domi­nated by Internet channels and online marketing venues.

In 2005, nearly US$700 billion was spent on travel in North America, Western Europe and Asia combined, and close to one quarter of that total was spent online (see Table 1.2). That number, compris­ing both leisure/unmanaged business and corporate travel, is projected to surpass two fifths by 2008. This matches the ratio of all travel spending in the U.S. that was online in 2005, rendering the current American travel report market a valuable source for understanding the intersection of consum­er empowerment and the coming domin­ion of the Web as point of purchase.