Study: Canadians Turning to Web to Research, Book Travel

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A study released yesterday by market research firm Ipsos-Reid found that Canadian travel agents are losing business to the Internet.


The quarterly study, Canadian Inter@ctive Reid Report, is based on interviews with 2,500 Canadian adults. Of the participants, 1,000 were Web users surveyed online while the other 1,500 were interviewed via telephone.


"People indicated that because of the Internet, they are using travel agents less, and clearly that will have an impact on that industry," said Chris Ferneyhough, vice president, technology division at Ipsos-Reid, Toronto.


The study found that 92 percent of participants who had booked travel online claimed to be using travel agents less because of the Internet.


Overall, 59 percent of respondents with Internet access said they had used the Web to research travel, while 18 percent had actually booked travel online.


Of those who had not yet booked travel online, 26 percent said they planned to within a year.


Ferneyhough cited travel agents' restrictive hours and long periods spent on hold as two reasons why online travel booking is becoming increasingly attractive.


"There is a lot of money to be had in this sector, and the key will be for Web sites to appeal to consumers who have not yet booked online," he said.


Air Canada was cited as having the most popular travel Web site. It was selected by 29 percent of respondents who book online.


The runners-up included Sabre's Travelocity with 11 percent, WestJet with 6 percent, Expedia with 5 percent and Tripeze.com with 2 percent.


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