BURST! Media Study: Women Complete Online Travel Buys At a Rate Higher Than Men

Exceed Men Especially in Car Rental and Airline Ticket Conversions

BURLINGTON, Mass., Jan. 31 /PRNewswire/ — A new BURST! Media online survey finds that women convert from researching a specific online travel product to making an online travel purchase at a higher rate than men. This is notably true for car rentals and airline tickets. Nearly two-thirds (64.1%) of women versus 58.5% of men who have researched auto rentals online have also made an auto rental reservation online — and 64.6% of women versus 59.0% of men who researched airline flights/fares online have also made an online ticket purchase. A similar proportion of men (55.0%) and women (56.9%) who research hotel accommodations also booked a room online.

The findings are the result of a recent survey of nearly 3,500 BURST! Media network visitors to gain further insight into the how consumers are currently using the Internet as a travel resource. Respondents were 18+ years and had made at least one over night trip in the past six months.

“What makes these findings so interesting is that in BURST’s previous survey focusing on online retail habits and attitudes, women were more likely to research, while men were more likely to buy,” says Chuck Moran, BURST! Media’s Market Research Manager. “But, when it comes to Travel, women’s behavior is different than their retail behavior.”

According to comScoreNetworks, online travel spending generated $7.8 billion in November and December 2004 and for the year totaled $50.9 billion. Those numbers include airline tickets, car rentals, cruises, and hotel bookings and are a 26 percent increase from 2003.

The BURST! survey found that nearly four out of five (79.3%) have purchased airline tickets online, two-thirds (67.7%) have made hotel reservations, and one-third (37.5%) rented an automobile online. Additionally, respondents who have made transactions online also conduct travel research online — with two-thirds (66.5%) having researched travel destinations, and one-quarter (26.3%) researched travel/tour operators.

Other key findings of the BURST study:

Income Impacts Use of Web for Travel Information

Income impacts online travel purchase behavior. Among the segment reporting household income (HHI) of less than $35,000, only one-quarter (24.7%) of respondents say they made an online travel purchase. The percentage increases to 46.0% among those with household income of $35,000 — $74.999: and increases again to over-half (54.2%) of respondents with HHI $75,000 or greater.

Women are Heavier Internet Travel Researchers and Buyers

Three out of five (60.6%) women vs. 54.1% of men say they have used the Internet to specifically research airline flights/fares, or hotel accommodation/ rates or car rental availability/rates. Women are also more likely than men to say they have made an online purchase of a travel product — 46.9% versus 39.4%, respectively.

Researchers Only Seek Pricing Information

The most popular online travel task among survey respondents who use the Internet solely as a research tool is researching travel destinations — with 63.2% of this group having done so. Online travel researchers, however, are also conducting travel-pricing research online. In fact 43.0% say they have conducted online research of airline flights and fares, 39.8% for hotel accommodations and prices, and 11.0% for car rental rates and availability.

Travel Research and Conversion to Purchase/Action

Three-out-of five (62.0%) respondents who researched airline flights and fares on the Internet also say they purchased an airline ticket online. Similarly, 61.3% of respondents who researched auto rentals online also made a rental car reservation online. Among respondents who researched hotel accommodations and rates online, 56.0% made a hotel reservation online.

“Travelers are a great target for advertisers,” says Mr. Moran. “Travel- related marketers can take advantage of the web’s ability to not only target travel audiences with specific interests, but also deliver a vast amount of information.”

BURST! Media is an Internet ad services and online ad sales rep company that delivers more than 3.2 billion advertising impressions for over 2,000 web publishers every month, BURST! reaches 1 in 4 people online and is among the 30 largest online media properties in terms of unique visitors and reach.* By providing thousands of web publishers with tools and expertise from ad sales to email newsletter tools and community forums for learning, BURST! helps publishers generate sustainable revenue. The company, founded in 1995 and based near Boston, also markets AdDesktop, a competitively-priced, ASP ad management solution that helps web publishers securely target, serve, track and report the performance of online advertising campaigns.

*(according to comScoreMedia Metrix)

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