Over the last six months, the number of Europeans visiting travel Web sites has increased by nearly 4 million, according to data from Jupiter MMXI.
An analysis of the Jupiter MMXI data from November 2000 to April 2001 found the number of unique visitors to travel sites from home increased by nearly 1 million in the three biggest markets of Britain, France and Germany. In Britain, growth from 3,108,000 to 4,071,000; in France from 1,483,000 to 2,424,000 and in Germany from 2,562,000 to 3,569,00 unique visitors.
Not surprisingly, the data also found clear seasonal trends in surfing behavior on travel sites. For example, in Britain and Germany, the peaks in usage occur in July, January and February. In France, the peaks are seen in July and March. During the peak periods, Web surfers from these countries spent more time during the last six months on travel sites than other popular categories, including retail and news and information sites.
Web sites offering information and tickets, especially for air and rail travel are particularly popular across Europe. For example, in Britain, Easyjet.com, Britishairways.com, Railtrack.co.uk and TheTrainLine.com have all established themselves among the top 10 travel sites. Lastminute.com, Thomascook.co.uk, Expedia.co.uk and Ebookers.com also have strong positions. Lastminute.com is popular among most Europeans being the only site to appear in the top 10 in Britain, France, Germany, Sweden, Italy and Spain.
In Germany, France, Sweden, Italy and Switzerland, the national train operators SNCF.fr, Bahn.de, SJ.se, Trenitalia.it and SBB.ch are the most popular travel destinations.
"With providers of all modes of transport now active online, it is no surprise that European consumers are using the Internet for information about timetables and destinations," said Nick Jones, travel analyst for Jupiter MMXI. "It is also clear that consumers are comfortable purchasing lower price travel products, such as air tickets, online. However, in the more mature Nordic markets, consumers are researching and buying more expensive travel purchases."
According to Jones, European online travel operators must now persuade people to make bigger, more important travel purchases online. He advises package operators to escape from the "brochure mentality" that has dominated some sites.
"Consumers need to feel that they are packaging their own dream vacation," Jones said. "Allowing people to easily gather, compare and share information about the elements of package holidays will be crucial."
|Top Travel Sites in the UK, France and Germany |
At home users, April 2001
|Source: Jupiter MMXI|
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