Young Travelers’ Online Habits Show Driving Preference

August 9, 2011

nielsen-online-travel-aug-2011.JPGInternet users aged 18-34 (“Young Road Warriors”) seem to prefer driving to their chosen destination, wherever that may be, as they are more likely to visit ground transportation and maps/travel information sites than they are any other category of travel websites, according to data collected in June 2011 by The Nielsen Company. This group makes up nearly 30% of the visitors to both types of sites, which is 13% higher than their internet average (25%).

In addition, the 18-34 age group is least likely to browse cruise lines and airlines sites, accounting for only 25% and 20% of these sites’ visitors, respectively.

Destination Sites Draw 35-to-49-Yr-Olds

Nielsen data shows that destination sites (i.e. Walt Disney World, Six Flags, etc.) and hotel/hotel directory sites have a high concentration of internet users aged 35-49 (“Family Fans”). Family Fans make up more than a third of visitors to these sites and are more likely to visit a destination or hotel/hotel directory site than any other age group (34% and 32% more likely, respectively).

As a means of transportation to their selected destination, some things haven’t changed with this group compared to their younger counterparts, as they are also more likely to drive than fly.

50 and Older Take to the Seas

Internet users aged 50 and up (“Senior Sailors”) like to set sail, accounting for almost half of the unique visitors to cruise lines sites. This is 45% higher than the internet average (33%) making them the most likely of all age groups to visit cruise line sites.

The next most popular type of travel site among this group is airlines, where internet users older than 49 make up 41% of the audience to these sites, 27% above the internet average.

Travel Site Visits Spike Jan., June/July

Visits across all Nielsen categories of travel sites spike in January and then again during the summer months of June and July. Nielsen analysis suggests that as the cost of air travel continues to rise, largely due to fare increases and baggage fees, Americans may be opting to drive to their destinations instead of flying. The number of unique visitors to ground transportation sites has remained steady over the past two years, while airline sites have seen a 24% decrease in visitors during the same period.

Overall, visits to travel sites have increased slightly in the last two years (+2%), with multi-category travel sites (i.e. Expedia, TripAdvisor, etc.) seeing the largest growth in visitors since June 2009 (+7%).

Online Travel Purchasers Spend Heavier on Hotel, Airline, Vacation Packages

Adult internet users who recently made an online travel purchase don’t mind spending big once they’ve decided to travel. This group is more than two times more likely than the average adult online to be heavy spenders on hotel reservations (Index 273), airline tickets (Index 266) and vacation packages (Index 288).

Once they have reached their final destination, top vacation activities include visiting family and friends (38%), going to the beach (26%) and camping (16%).

comScore: Online Travel Bug Bites Consumers

An all-time high of 116 million US consumers visited the online travel category in June 2011, with half of the month’s top-gaining categories falling under this umbrella, according to comScore Media Metrix data. Travel – ground/cruise sites saw the strongest gains, up 14% to nearly 13.5 million visitors.

Meanwhile, total US internet audience declined about 1% month-over-month, from 216.2 million to 214.5 million.

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