The year 2007 was the first in which more travel was purchased online than off-line in the U.S., according to the PhoCusWright Consumer Travel Trends Survey.
The report predicted “the gap between online and off-line will continue to widen as more and more travellers shift behaviour to online shopping and buying.”
The study said 51 per cent of U.S. travel was booked online in 2007, and it projected that percentage to increase to 56 per cent in 2008 and 60 per cent in 2009.
The survey also said travel products with multiple components, such as vacation packages, are being purchased less frequently online, while simple components — plane tickets, for example — are being purchased more frequently.
The report found travel websites are evolving, with more offering features like group travel planning and booking, along with content generated by a community of readers and users.
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PhoCusWright is a travel industry research company. The study was based on a variety of data, including surveys of travellers, interviews with travel executives and company reports.