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More Kiwis Heading Online To Plan, Book Holidays

NEWS RELEASE

More Kiwis Heading Online To Plan, Book Holidays: ACNielsen

AUCKLAND, 20th August 2001 – The number of New Zealanders heading online to plan or book holidays has almost doubled in the last two years, according to an ACNielsen survey.

The survey, led by ACNielsen’s tourism specialist Richard Dunbar, interviewed 1000 New Zealanders aged 15+ and found that consumers regard the Internet as complementary to traditional channels for planning and purchasing domestic and international holidays.

“The tourism sector must consider how these changes in consumer behaviour – using the Internet to gather information and book travel – affect the industry and prepare for it,” said Richard Dunbar, research director, ACNielsen New Zealand.

In 1999, some 23 percent* of those surveyed had used the Internet for overseas holiday travel planning, including bookings. In 2001, this had almost doubled to 44 percent. In domestic tourism, this growth is occurring even faster. In 1999, 10 percent of those surveyed had used the Internet for domestic holiday planning, including bookings. By 2001 this had almost tripled to 28 percent. Further, in 2001 some 25 percent of those surveyed said the Internet was the most useful source of information when planning international travel.

There has been a small decline in the use of travel agencies for international travel and a larger decline in the use of accommodation directories for domestic travel over the corresponding period.

“The growth in online planning and booking raises some strategic issues for travel agents because traditional distribution channels in the industry are being disrupted,” adds Mr Dunbar. “Consumer Internet use is upsetting the balance between traditional channels, new distribution channels, tourism operators and consumers. Consumers can and are now going direct to suppliers and to new distributors of travel products.

“Internationally, travel is one of the most successful e-commerce categories, so one of the things we can say for sure is that the industry needs to adapt to e-travel. While it possibly creates some uncertainty for industry players as they strive to differentiate themselves and define their unique offering, it also introduces new opportunities to industry operators. We are already seeing new alliances and partnerships between traditional operators and the portals that have the greatest Internet audiences,” says Mr Dunbar.

ACNielsen provides a range of information including regular monitoring and reports on the travel industry. Some of the highlights of this research will be presented and discussed by Richard Dunbar at the 2001 Tourism Conference in Rotorua on Tuesday 21st August.

ENDS

ACNielsen, a company of VNU N.V., is the world’s leading market research firm, offering measurement and analysis of market place dynamics, consumer attitudes and behaviour, and new and traditional media in more than 100 countries. Clients include leading consumer product manufacturers and retailers, service firms, media and entertainment companies and the Internet community.

For further information visit http://www.acnielsen.co.nz.

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