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
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.