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Internet European Travel Monitor

Typical profile of European online
travel bookers

Holiday travel, the outright winner of online bookings

booked online

Seasonal character
of bookings, types
of trips

Travel expenditure

Demographic factors

Social status

Summary of the


July 19, 2000

The Internet European Travel Monitor is the first large-scale Internet study ever conducted in Europe.

This study was produced jointly by IPK international and Luc Carton, founder of the Internet research company, eMarket Strategies, and editor of eTourism newsletter.

Its conclusions, founded on 400,000 interviews conducted in 33 European countries, make it a unique instrument and a reference for eManagers working in the field of European and worldwide eTravel.

Many Internet studies are based on interviews limited to a few thousand users.

The Internet European Travel Monitor's study is incomparably more reliable thanks to the size of its base. In addition, it should be noted that the populations interviewed are totally representative of European travellers. The methodology adopted by IPK is based on many years' experience and is recognized throughout the world today.

27.263 million international and domestic trips were initiated on the Internet by Europeans in 1999, 5.738 million of which were booked and paid for online.

Concerning trips taken abroad by Europeans:

  • 13.046 million trips were initiated on the Net but booked and paid for offline.

  • 3.82 million trips were booked and paid for online.

    A total of 16.866 million trips taken abroad by Europeans were therefore initiated on the Internet. These figures also show that 22.65% of trips initiated on the Net were finalized directly online (booking and payment).

    Furthermore, the results of the study show a progression of 300% compared to identical analyses made in 1998.

    1. - Typical profile of European online travel bookers  
The table below gives a quick summary of the profile of the typical European traveller who books online.

Although only a rapid indication compared to the whole study - which presents a large number of figures, analyses and specific graphs for each section - it does, nonetheless, give a general idea of the European online traveller

European online eTravel bookers
Typical profile
% of this type of profile compared to total
30 - 44
Household Income
Higher Bracket
Higher Level
Size of household
3 - 4 people
Place of residence
Large Town
Expenditure per night
More than 100 euros
Travel expenditure per trip
250 - 750 euros
Means of transport
Purpose of trip
Holiday trips
Western Europe
Type of Holidays
Sun and Seaside
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    2. - Holiday travel, the outright winner of online European
bookings in 1999
The overall results of our European study show the predominant share taken by online reservations in the holiday and leisure travel sector, a far higher proportion than for travel reservations usually made in this sector offline.

On the other hand, far fewer business trips were booked online than offline by Europeans in 1999.

It shows how immature the European business travel market is, since, according to Forrester Research, online business travel in the US is expected to represent a third of the total online travel turnover by 2003. In fact, 82% of large American companies interviewed said that they will be buying all their travel online by 2001.

It should also be noted that these figures are particularly significant in that they only represent bookings actually made online and do not include users who have looked for information on the Internet but have subsequently booked offline.

Given the reluctance of Internet users to pay online - a reluctance which is far less pronounced in the business world - the lead taken by the leisure sector as compared to the business sector in European eTravel is even more striking.

It also shows that the business travel sector in Europe still has more trust in traditional travel agencies, a trend which has already been completely reversed in the US.

This disparity between leisure and business travel means that, in 1999, the BtoC (Business to Consumer) sector was the biggest Internet market in European eTravel.

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    3. - Destinations booked online by Europeans  

a) Differences in results according to destinations. Case study: Austria - France - USA

Another of the study's major findings is the shift in the choices of certain geographical destinations traditionally chosen by Internet users.

Here we are referring to "final" destinations chosen by travellers, and not the country the user comes from, or the state of development of online bookings in these countries.

Some of the widest differences are found in bookings for Austria, which more than doubles its potential in its share of destinations booked online. It alone represents over 12% of destinations booked online.

b) European Internet users' favourite destinations.

However, it should be noted that European Internet users are particularly drawn to destinations in northern Europe and in western Europe, which accounts for more than 40% of online bookings.

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    4. - Seasonal character of bookings, types of trips, length
of trips booked online by Europeans
a) The seasonal character of bookings made by Europeans: significant differences between online and offline bookings.

Apart from the actual reasons for taking trips, which can, as we have seen, be the cause of many disparities between online and offline bookings, there are also wide differences depending on the season when the trip is taken.

Although traditional booking methods are preferred in the first eight months of the year, this trend is completely reversed from September to December.

b) Types of trips.

The type of trip is another factor which has a bearing on the online travel shopper's behaviour.

Special events, for example, are very often booked via the Internet.

Similarly, and this comes as a big surprise, winter sports have made a spectacular entrance, since skiing holidays are three times more highly represented in online bookings.

These differences also occur for trips to special events.

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    5. - Travel expenditure  

a) Travel Expenditure per trip.

Although the average amount spent by trip or by night is approximately the same for online and offline bookings, there are wide differences depending on the amount spent, as shown in the detailed analysis.

For example, for amounts of less than 250 euros, the difference in favour of offline bookers is 74%.

b) Euros spent per night %.

To try and highlight these disparities and better define the profile of the European online traveller, we also asked travellers how much they spent per night.

The analysis of amounts spent by online bookers, not per trip, but per night, reveals a different Internet profile.

It confirms the previous results and also shows that the Internet traveller spends more per night, sometimes by quite high proportions, than his alter ego who has booked offline.

This is a further confirmation of the large amounts spent by travellers who reserve online.

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    6. - Demographic factors  

a) Online travellers' place of residence.

The European online traveller's place of residence also provides us with a wealth of information.

As is to be expected, Internet travellers usually live in large towns. Interestingly, people who live in rural areas book slightly more often online than they do offline.

However, people living in small and medium-sized towns are vastly under-represented online.

b) Online travellers' age.

We note that there are wide differences in online and offline booking methods according to which age group the traveller belongs to.

In the 25-34 age group, 30.2% buy online as compared to 22% offline, a relative difference of 37% in favour of Internet bookings.

This trend is completely reversed in the 45-54 age group.

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    7. - Social Status  
a) Social status: relative differences between travellers booking online and offline.

Following these detailed analyses of the online and offline travel behaviour according to social status, household income and educational level, we thought it would be interesting to compare the relative difference between European travellers who reserved online and those who reserved offline within each of these categories.

It is immediately obvious, depending on the approach adopted, that the relative disparities between online and offline bookings are totally different.

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    Summary of the study  

Introduction: eTravel, an economic reality in the United States and in Europe.

  • New practices, new behaviour, new players.
  • Future trends.

European bookings: Comparison on/off line:

Types of trips:

  • Holiday Travel, the outright winner of online European bookings in 1999.
  • Differences between online and off line bookings made by Europeans in 1999.
  • The number of nights booked online is lower than the number booked offline, an indication of the poor European online accommodation offer.
  • Trips booked online are shorter than trips booked offline, whatever the kind of trip made.
  • Comparison of lengths of stay between online and offline bookings.
  • Online turnover: predominance of the holiday sector.
  • Online turnover: predominance of holiday trips.

Means of transport:

  • Types of trips and means of transport.
  • Means of transport used by Europeans: comparison between online and offline bookers in 1999.
  • Online bookings: the influence of the type of trip on the means of transport preferred by Internet users.


  • Online bookings: differences in results according to destinations. Case study: Austria - France - USA.
  • Austria, France, USA: Types of trips booked online.
  • Austria, France, USA: Means of transport preferred by Internet users.
  • European Internet users' favourite destinations.
  • Breakdown of destinations booked online and offline by Europeans in 1999.

    - Short Haul.
    - Long Haul.

  • Means of transport used by Internet users according to destinations.

Internet impact:

  • The impact of the type of trip on online bookings.
  • Confirmation that online business travel bookings lag far behind offline bookings.
  • The seasonal character of bookings made by Europeans: significant differences between online and offline bookings.
  • Internet impact on seasons.
  • Types of holiday.
  • Comparison of means of transport most often used between online and offline bookings made in Europe.
  • Accommodation.
  • Length of Trip.
  • Length of trip - Number of nights.

Online Travel Expenditure:

  • Travel Expenditure per trip.
  • Euros spent per night.

Place of residence:

  • Travellers' place of residence.
  • Types of trips booked online according to travellers' place of residence.

Age, sex, family unit:

  • Differentiation between online and offline bookings according to travellers' sex.
  • Travellers' age.
  • Travellers' family unit.
  • Types of trips booked online according to different age groups.
  • Age Group.

Social Status, demographics:

  • Social status - Household income.
  • Social status - Educational level.
  • Social status: relative differences between travellers booking online and offline.
  • Demographics of European Online eTravel Bookers.
  • Comparison between online and offline European travel bookers.

Profile of the European Online eTravel Bookers:

  • European Online eTravel Bookers - Typical profile.
  • Comparison European/American online eTravel bookers.
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IPK International is a team of experts based in Munich, Germany.

The reports and missions carried out by the group are based on in-depth, up-to-date knowledge of the evolution of worldwide demands in travel consumption.

This study was conducted by the group in 1999. They interviewed 400,000 people in 33 European countries by telephone and in person. About a hundred series of interviews were carried out, among a population representative of European tourists.

The tourists were questioned in their homes, on their return from trips abroad last year. The report, the "Internet European Travel Monitor" is based on these questionnaires.

Throughout the year 2000, IPK International will be interviewing 750,000 people in Europe and North America with identical questionnaires; the results will be collated in the World Travel Monitor.

The questionnaire, which the Internet European Travel Monitor is based on, covers all the information required to correctly interpret the travel phenomenon: the destination country, main and secondary means of transport, travel arrangements, type of accommodation, the date of the trip(s), the length of trips, the different types of business and leisure travel, travel expenditure, activities the tourists took part in and information about the travellers' socio-professional levels.

The questions concerning travel arrangements allowed IPK International to observe, for the first time in 1999, the way the Internet is used on the European continent for booking and/or paying for travel services

This measurement concerned all the travellers interviewed, i.e. about 400,000 people, whether they did or did not use the Internet to book trips abroad.

The pan-European range of this survey allows IPK International and eMarket Strategies to present a series of informed conclusions in the report about the impact of the Internet on the behaviour of European tourists.

This is the first time that the eTourism phenomenon has been observed on such a large scale.

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