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Finding and Booking Hotels Online – Easy and Affordable

Finding and booking hotels using the Internet is very easy and it is absolutely hassle free. During the last decade, we have seen very significant advancement in this field. And especially last few years are awesome and sometimes unbelievable. No doubt, finding and booking hotels using the Internet has become a very easy task once seemed to be a very daunting task. Direct booking of travel is booming than ever especially through the Internet and it has many advantages like there is no middleman involved.

It all started, when in year 1999 SmartMoney magazine reported that the on-line travel market is expected to reach $4.7 billion in 2000, an increase of almost 1600% since 1996. Not only but industry analysts Bear Stearns also predicted the total to hit $30 billion by 2003. Though only a part of this amount represents adventure travel in developing countries, the overall trend is growing.

Let’s see the recent research findings about the online travel market as a whole.

simplotel-hotel-website-and-hotel-bookingAccording to the latest market forecast by JupiterResearch, U.S. online travel sales are projected to reach a year-end total of $54 billion in 2004, comprising just under a quarter (23 percent) of all domestic travel sales. That figure marks a 20 percent year-over-year increase above the 2003 total. Research from comScore and PhoCusWright also confirmed and supported that glowing outlook.

According to Jupiter’s report, which tracks sales by major direct distributors and third parties, robust growth is predicted to continue through 2009, reaching a total of $91 billion, or 33 percent of all travel purchased.

Total Projected Online Booking Revenue and Channel Share, 2003 to 2009

Year

U.S. Online Travel

Booking Revenue

Percentage of Total U.S.

Travel Revenue

2003
$46 billion
20%
2004
$54 billion
23%
2005
$62 billion
26%
2006
$70 billion
28%
2007
$77 billion
30%
2008
$84 billion
31%
2009
$91 billion
33%

Source: JupiterResearch Internet Travel Model, 2004

Other research groups detail similar growth figures in online travel. According to comScore, U.S. online travel sales totaled $38.6 billion through the end of the third quarter of this year, and are projected to top $50 billion by the end of the year. That third quarter figure is 26 percent over $30.7 billion in sales over the same period in 2003.

Meanwhile, PhoCusWright’s Online Travel Overview, released in June, projects the online travel market to grow at an even a faster clip over the next two years. “In the U.S.,” the report states, “this $190 billion industry will see more than half of its total business booked online by 2006.”

So, you might be thinking what’s driving the growth? There can be many reasons. First of all, there are more people visiting these sites than ever before. Secondly, there’s an increased tug-of-war between the direct suppliers and the third parties, which increasingly favors the consumer, along with others.

According to comScore data, 62 million unique visitors clicked on travel sites in October 2004, or roughly 40 percent of the U.S. online population of 150 million users. An increasingly evident pattern in that traffic is the growing popularity of travel-specific search engines such as www.sidestep.com, www.kayak.com, and www.mobissimo.com.

Besides saving you money, finding and booking hotels using the Internet with local tour companies has some intangible advantages. For one thing, you have access to the inside knowledge that only locals can have and more importantly, by cutting out layers of middlemen, you can put more money into the pockets of hard-working people in developing countries. Online booking has proven a boon for small local travel businesses.

The process of arranging a trip is quite straightforward provided you follow some simple steps like brainstorm a detailed wish list, including places, activities, and special requests; Search the Internet for companies located in your destination country. This is much easier with specialized travel directories available on the net; Look through the offerings of various companies. E-mail them with your wish list. Most local tour operators are delighted to show off their expertise by putting together customized itineraries for foreign clients; last but not the least, check the company’s reputation. You can also try online travelers’ message boards. You may find rave reviews (or warnings!) from recent customers. Posting a query may bring you the information you need.

Some of the best resources for finding and booking hotels using the Internet are:

  • http://www.sidestep.com
  • http://www.kayak.com
  • http://www.mobissimo.com
  • http://www.gonomad.com
  • http://www.ihotelier.com
  • http://www.worldtravelmart.co.uk
  • http://www.opodo.co.uk
  • http://www.roomstar.com
  • http://www.internetholidays.co.uk
  • http://www.hotels-and-discounts.com

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