Search Leads Travelers to Destinations
Search engines play prominently in travel planning, particularly for affluent Internet users. A joint study by Thomas, Townsend & Kent (TTK) and BIGresearch surveyed 967 Americans with household annual incomes of at least $100,000. The study reveals search engine usage for travel planning outweighs other online and more traditional methods. Over three-quarters of respondents used search engines for travel planning, compared to 47 percent who relied on magazines, 42 percent who solicited referrals, and 35 percent who used travel agents.
Despite its popularity among affluent online planners, search engine usage for travel is diminishing. Andrea M. Stokes, director, marketing and international research for the TIA, says their research "shows that search engines are still being used in overall travel planning — likely for many things such as destination information, hotel links, fare searches, restaurant searches, etc."
While we're on the subject of travel search another new entry will debut this Fall called Kayak. I've been trying the site out with an early beta release and so far I'm impressed. Why? Kayak offers a useful feature that I haven't seen on other travel sites. It allows you to modify you're search results (air fare, travel dates, departure times) on the fly (no pun intended) using "sliders" or "levers". This feature is very similar to what you'll find when using SmartSort from Yahoo Shopping.