Online travel market surges forward


25 May 2007

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Travellers in Europe who shop for flights or book online average about four leisure trips a year, the managing director of EBookers Ireland and UK has said.

This is about the same as the US, Ciaran Lally told a conference yesterday.

“Of the European leisure travellers online, 40pc are bookers – consumers who search and book their trip online – and 27pc are described as lookers – consumers who look at trips online but purchase offline. This indicates that the web is used both as a tool for searching and booking,” he said.

The online travel market in Europe soared in value to €28bn in 2006, up 22pc on the year before. The value of the market in 2000 was €2.5bn.

The advent of Web 2.0 has been instrumental in this growth, said Lally.

“The emergence of Web 2.0 applications has brought internet usage to the next level all over the world and Ireland is no exception. For example, Bebo far surpasses the combined figures of all four of the premium Irish online brands with a total of 450 million page impressions per month. This is in comparison to 24 million page impressions per month for Eircom.net, 23 million page impressions per month for RTE.ie, Ireland.com with 17 million page impressions per month and Independent.ie with 16 million page impressions per month.

He added that travel-specific Web 2.0 sites like www.tripadvisor.com are increasingly empowering travel consumers with useful resources and is one of the factors behind the large shift towards online booking.

By Niall Byrne