Travel Industry Helped by Web, Frequency

The travel industry seems to be flourishing as research finds that half of all U.S. Internet users – equaling roughly 59 million individuals – have made a travel purchase online, and more than 2-in-10 adults are frequent domestic travelers.

The Pew Internet and American Life Project measured a significant increase in the amount of online travel buyers in 2002, up from 36 percent (about 31 million Internet users) in 2000 – representing a 90 percent growth rate. Comparatively, other online activities, such as participating in online auctions experienced 69 percent growth, and playing games had a 45 percent growth rate during then same period.

Scarborough Research took an in-depth look at the domestic travel habits of Americans and found that 21 percent in 74 cities are frequent domestic travelers, taking five or more overnight trips (business or personal), either by air, land or sea, within the Continental U.S. during February 2001 to March 2002.

Scarborough’s profile of the frequent domestic traveler would likely be a high-income, white-collar, college-educated male. Scarborough found that frequent travelers are 17 percent more likely then the average adult to be white-collar workers and 12 percent more likely to be men; 38 percent have annual household incomes of $75,000+; 25 percent are single; college grads are 29 percent more likely than average adult to make frequent domestic journeys, while those with post-graduate degrees are 50 percent more likely then the norm to do the same.

Alisa Joseph, vice president, director of sales, advertiser marketing services at Scarborough Research, analyzed the results even further: “Scarborough found that markets with a high percentage of frequent travelers have bigger families and higher household incomes. Additionally, frequent travelers have a tendency to work for large companies in those markets. Types of professions also seem to be a factor, particularly in the engineering, sales, financial and computer-related industries.”

Scarborough determined that frequent travelers are more likely to visit certain hot spots, such as New York City (more than twice as likely); Los Angeles (79 percent more likely); Orlando (65 percent more likely); and the Las Vegas strip (62 percent more likely).

Furthermore, frequent travelers are 85 percent more likely than the general population to snow ski, 43 percent more likely to go camping, and 29 percent more likely to go bicycling. Almost half (48 percent) have attended a professional sports event in the past 12 months, 34 percent have seen a live theater performance, and 18 percent have attended a rock concert.


U.S. Cities with Most Frequent Domestic Travelers
Market Penetration
Atlanta, GA 28%
Austin, TX 28%
Dallas, TX 27%
Mobile, AL 27%
Charlotte, NC 27%
Portland, OR 26%
Washington, DC 26%
Minneapolis, MN 25%
San Francisco, CA 25%
Boston, MA 25%
Average % of Adults in 74 Markets = 21%
Market represents DMA(R) (Designated Market Area)
Source: Scarborough Research


U.S. Cities with Least Frequent Domestic Travelers
Market Penetration
New York, NY 18%
Tucson, AZ 17%
Providence, RI 17%
Cleveland, OH 17%
Detroit, MI 17%
Miami, FL 17%
El Paso, TX 17%
Wilkes-Barre, PA 17%
Louisville, KY 16%
Buffalo, NY 14%
Average % of Adults in 74 Markets = 21%
Market represents DMA(R) (Designated Market Area)
Source: Scarborough Research

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