10 hottest online travel trends

From Times Online
April 22, 2009
10 hottest online travel trends
Ginny McGrath met the world’s online revolutionaries at the Travolution Summit – here’s what she learnt
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(Royalty Free)
Ginny McGrath

1. Flights come first: on average holidaymakers buy flights 44 days before travel, book their hotel 42 days before and their rental car 19 days before, says Frommers.

2. We trust reviews: People are more likely to book a holiday if they can read reviews from other travellers, says Frommers and TripAdvisor (well, they would wouldn’t they). Research shows «consumer opinions posted online» are trusted more than newspapers.

3. Tripadvisor is growing fast: 20 new travel hotel or destination reviews are added to Tripadvisor every minute.

4. Travel companies are getting dull: Lufthansa is boring – and proud of it. They do the basics well says UK and Ireland general manager Marianne Sammann. «Boring is the new cool» hailed travel bloggers at the Travolution Summit (see keep it simple at no. 6).
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5. There are empty villas all over Europe: Holiday homes are used by their owners for 30 days a year on average, with two and three-bedroom properties the most popular, says HomeAway.

6. Travel websites are getting simpler – executives from across the airline, hotel and tour operator sectors – companies such as travelsupermarket.com, Holiday-Rentals.co.uk and Lufthansa – agree that flashy tools doesn’t beat a simple design with an efficient search facility.

7. Dot com entrepreneurs DO wear trendy rectangular glasses: see Dopplr chief executive Marko Ahtisaari, PlanetEye.com chief executive Butch Langlois et al.

8. It takes a month to book a holiday: the stats have been banded about before, but it’s fascinating stuff: the average holiday booked online takes 29 days and 12 searches on 22 different travel sites.

9. Price is paramount: travellers search Google for ‘cheap hotels’ most often, then ‘beach hotels’ and ‘luxury hotels’.

10. Travel websites are getting «prettier»: Dopplr says they want «digital delighters», the equivalent of chocolates on our hotel pillows apparently, Frommers says people want photos of destinations and travelsupermarket.com adds that the pictures can’t be of too many children or people who are too beautiful – that puts people off, they say.

Read the full Travolution Summit twitter feed at #travsummit and a summary of the best blogs, coverage and images at the dedicated page on Travolution.co.uk.

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