Published on Tuesday, August 1, 2006

Last minute travelers are $10 billion business

Last minute summer travelers are offering marketers a juicy bone of $10 billion in business, says Compete Inc.’s new travel study.

“There is still an opportunity for marketers to close the season strongly by focusing promotions on last-minute bookings,” said Gregory Saks, director, Compete Travel Practice.

He said the group’s study found that although one third of internet travel researchers plan more travel this summer, they have not yet made their specific plans.

The study found that travel is the single largest e-commerce industry with more than 50 million consumers planning and researching travel online each month. This year, over $70 billion in online travel purchases are expected, according to Compete.

For its study, Compete analyzed consumer behavior from its panel of two million consumers. Key findings included:

  • Two thirds of consumers prefer researching travel options online, surpassing the importance of recommendations from friends and family.

  • Among consumers with summer travel planning still to be purchased, nearly 75% said they will reserve most or all of their travel online.

  • More than two thirds of bookings are coming from what Compete calls “procrastinating and undecided travelers.” They make up almost half of the in-market summer travelers who wait to book largely because of indecisions about where and when to travel.

Another study by the Travel Industry Association found that 74% of leisure travelers plan at least one of their getaways within two weeks of taking the trip; another 26% plan all vacations are the last minute.

Said Mr Saks:

“Marketers can have an impact if they act now with urgency messaging and price-focused offers via the internet to travelers that are still undecided about their plans or holding out for the right time to book.”

Report by David Wilkening

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