Online bookings reach 25m in UK

Nearly 25 million holidays were booked over the Internet during 2005, according to a study of online tends carried out by research group Mintel.


The group said 7.9 million holidays in the UK and 16.4 million overseas holidays or their components were booked on line in the 12 month period.


Around 55% of online holidays were booked to short-haul destinations in Europe, 31% to UK and 16% to other overseas destinations.


The type of trips booked by internet users is predominantly package holidays to beach destinations, although city and short breaks are also popular with online customers, Mintel said.


Mintel’s Internet Quarterly Report also revealed that a fifth of all users had booked some form of travel in the previous quarter from July to September last year, with 13% booking a holiday.


The debate within the travel industry as to the most likely reason why consumers use the internet for booking travel has also been reinforced in the findings.


“For bookers and researchers, price comparison is the Internet’s strongest point, but for those that have never used the Internet, security and suspicions about hidden charges Are the clear barriers,” the report suggested.


In terms of sites the most popular for researching travel was EasyJet, with 38% of respondents claiming to have visited the site and 20% saying a booking had taken place – a conversion rate of 53%.


Other leading websites with a high booking conversion rate included Ryanair (60%), British Airways (48%) and Eurostar (45%).


However lower conversion rates were found for Thomas Cook (25%), Teletext.co.uk (25%), Lastminute.com (24%), Opodo (22%) and Travelocity (17%).

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