Jupiter Media Metrix yesterday reported that despite the economic slowdown, the online travel industry flourished last year, with U.S. leisure and business purchases totaling $18 billion in 2000.
The success is expected to continue, Jupiter said, estimating that online travel purchases will more than triple over the next five years to $63 billion.
“Amidst a softening economy, both consumers and businesses are increasingly in search of value of their precious travel dollars,” said Heidi Kim, analyst at Jupiter, New York. “The Internet will continue to grow as an important channel for information, products and services precisely because of its ability to help travelers find the best possible fares and rates.”
The report found that U.S. consumers are using online travel sites for information equally as often as they are using the sites to buy tickets.
Twenty-nine percent of consumers research leisure travel online but make purchases offline, while another 29 percent research and buy online, according to a February 2001 Jupiter consumer survey. The forecast for travel purchases over the next five years was based in part on data from that survey.
Forty-two percent are not yet using the Internet for travel arrangements.