More Travelers Turning to Internet

The Travel Industry Association of America (TIA), 6.7 million American adults (9 percent of Internet users) have used the Internet to make travel reservations in the past year.

In its “Technology and Travel 1998” report, the TIA found that 92 percent of all Internet users took a trip of 100 miles or more in the past year. Nearly half (45 percent) of all US Internet users took five or more trips in the past year.

The past two years have shown dramatic growth in the field of Internet travel, the TIA reported. In 1996, 29 million travelers used the Internet for travel-related and other purposes. By 1998, that number had risen to 70 million, a 141 percent increase. The number of travelers that used the Internet for travel planning increased from 3.1 million to 11.7 million in the same time period. In 1998, half of all online travelers (48 percent) and half of all online frequent travelers (51 percent) consulted the Internet to get information on destinations or to check prices and schedules.

As usual, the convenience of the Internet is considered responsible for the growth.

“Americans who enjoy travel seem to love the flexibility and convenience of the Internet,” said William S. Norman, President and CEO of the TIA. “The Internet is open 24 hours a day and it is right in our homes. If the recent increases in travel usage is any indication, the Internet and online services are the travel planning medium of the future.”

Online travelers also seem to be very satisfied with their experiences so far. The TIA report found that 92 percent of the American adults that used the Internet for travel plans or reservations were either extremely satisfied or satisfied with their most recent experience. Only 1 percent said their last experience was “extremely disappointing.”

The findings in the TIA report were based on telephone interviews with 1,200 US adults in September of 1998. Travel reservations include flights, hotels, rental cars, package tours, etc.

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