In April 2005, 35 mln US consumers used a search engine to initiate travel planning, and those who bought travel online ultimately spent an estimated $6.6 bln in the category during the eight week analysis period. Among the 35 mln consumers searching for travel, nearly one-third purchased a travel-related service either online or offline within the eight weeks following the initial search. Among these buyers, 80% completed travel purchases online. The discovery that 20% of these buyers ultimately completed a travel purchase offline underscores the influence of online research across all buying channels, says the report. Only 20% of all travel transactions linked to search engine activity occurred directly following the initial search referral, while the remaining 80% took place in the days and weeks following the initial search session. This latency, or inactivity of consumers between search and purchase, was observed at comparable levels among all travel products.
Those who ultimately purchased travel submitted an average of 5.4 travel-related searches over the study period, and clicked on an average of 7.8 links within search results. This is significantly more than the 3.4 travel-related searches and 5.2 clicks associated with those consumers who were not observed to buy online. 82% of respondents reported that they were satisfied or very satisfied with their use of Web search for travel. 56% of respondents said Web search helped them discover a new site. 27% said search led them to a new brand. 83% of Internet travel planners in the study said they intend to use Web search for future travel planning, a 17% increase over current usage levels.