Internet

ASTA Releases 2008 Technology and Web Usage Report

The study, the only one of its kind that specifically looks at Internet usage, Web 2.0 marketing, and Web site development from an agency point of view, found that while agents are comfortable utilizing traditional forms of Web marketing, there is still room for improvement when it comes to Web 2.0.

ASTA 'Agents are very comfortable using the Internet for booking when they feel they can get the best product, but even though travel agents have used webinars and blogs more than any other Web 2.0 marketing technique, they are eager to learn more and take advantage of similar tools to reach an increasingly savvy traveler,' said ASTA President and CEO Chris Russo.

Among the findings:

-76.9 percent of respondents indicated that they have a Web site up, a figure which has held rather steady over the past three years.

-Podcasts, webinars, webcast or streaming video seems to be the area that most respondents are looking to upgrade, purchase or develop.

-94 percent of ASTA agencies report that they have booked directly on a supplier's Web site without using their GDS or calling the supplier, up from 17.7 percent in 1999.

-Airline bookings are the most likely to be booked online reflecting the 'commoditization' of airline tickets. Travel agents continue to feel they need more direct contact to customize travel products such as cruises and tours.

-Most agencies use their Web site to provide an e-mail link to their agency (89.1%) or to promote their areas of specialty (81.7%).

-The respondents that offer online booking tools stated that on average 9.1 percent of their revenue is directly booked on their Web site.

The ASTA Research Family is comprised of a representative sample of ASTA member travel agency owners and managers. The report indicates a 95% confidence with an error rate +/- 4.3%.

Premium Members will receive this full report for free and travel agent members will receive a free two-page summary, but can also purchase the entire report for $250. The cost for ASTA member suppliers is $350 and $550 for non-members. For additional information, please contact mteates@asta.org or visit the research page on ASTA.org.

The mission of the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) is to facilitate the business of selling travel through effective representation, shared knowledge and the enhancement of professionalism. ASTA seeks a retail travel marketplace that is profitable and growing and a rewarding field in which to work, invest and do business.



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