Survey reveals low web-High Street relationship

Research by search engine giant Yahoo! has found 14% of customers who search for a package holiday online make the booking with a high street agent.

The findings, generated from tracking 3,000 customers who started their search online, suggests the higher the value of the booking the more likely the customer is to seek advice from a traditional source such as a travel agent or brochure.

Only 4% of accommodation bookings and 5% of flight-only business ends up being booked on the high street by customers who start looking on the web.

Online travel agencies are the biggest beneficiaries, accounting for almost half of package holiday sales and a third of cruise bookings.

Direct suppliers make up 38% of accommodation bookings and 61% of air sales.

However, the findings reveal that high-street agencies can capitalise from the Internet.

Yahoo! Search Marketing development director Nick Jones said agents selling high- value luxury products will benefit from driving customers to the high street.

“It’s easier to up-sell on the high street than it is on the Internet due to the level of human interaction,” he said. “Luxury brands would want to drive sales to the high street, and not all people want to convert online.”

Yahoo! followed up the research by surveying 300 of the people in its original 3,000 sample, 45% of which said they used search engines alongside traditional resources such as high-street travel agents and brochures.

Three quarters of people said agents provided the most relevant information for their last trip, compared to 83% for brochures and 81% for search engines. The research also revealed the average travel research session involves 3.2 searches with an average 10% conversion rate.

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