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No 2001/1 - Wednesday, January 23, 2001
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  Exclusive: visits distribution time on the French TO and online travel agent sites

Exclusive: visits distribution time on the French TO and online travel agent sites.

Delta Air Lines: 270% growth in online revenue in 2000!


With a total of over 13.000 active net surfers distributed among work and home, BVA TFC Research, which is a subsidiary that was created between BVA research institute and eMarket Strategies, constitutes the first behavioural panel that can presently be found on the French market.

We based our analysis on those figures and we're happy to offer you the exclusive distribution time of the visits paid by net surfers both at work and at home for the TO and online travel agent sites (which represents a total of approximately 30 sites) for the month of December, 2000.


We first noticed, and this should come as no surprise to the persons in charge of those sites, that visits mainly take place during the day, especially between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

These visits, which mainly happen when people are at work, well prove how differently online and offline tourism information, which is distributed via traditional agencies, is used. Indeed, people can only go to their traditional travel agent during their time off, which means in the evening and especially at weekends.

The fundamental competitive advantage of online travel agency sites is to be found here, namely the fact that they are available to their customers at every hour of the day and night. This is due to the fact that what consumers look for, before they even start looking for the best price, is the facility with which they can view travel offers at the most convenient time for them, which is to say during their working hours.

This "private" browsing that takes place at work can easily be explained: Internet access is free, flow is much quicker than what they have at home where connection involves a very specific approach, which is not the case within the company where connection is often continuous and "natural".

We also notice that, during the day, the connection peak takes place between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., which is the end of a day's work, which leads us to think that net surfers take advantage of this particular moment, when their work load decreases and allows them to view online travel agent sites before they go home.

What also surprised us is the fact that the "Minitel effect" is now nearly over. Before the Internet, the Minitel used to be the tool most favoured by those who wished to place an order online. The business model that was used by reservation services in the tourism sector consisted in commissions paid by France Telecom, which used to be the only telecom operator in France, that were proportional to the time people were connected.

The more time people spent to make a reservation, the more money these intermediaries made. This is how Degriftour established its brand successfully in the early 90s.

The connection costs for these Minitel services used to be very high, which prompted people to use the Minitel at work rather than at home and connection peaks used to take place between noon and 2 p.m. when their group leader was on his lunch break…

Such behaviour stopped with the arrival of the Internet, since the fact that an individual uses the Internet for personal reasons does not cost anything to the enterprise, which usually has an unlimited connection time. What's more, more and more companies are now becoming more lenient and tolerate its staff to use the Internet for personal reasons as long as this does not affect the quality of their work.

As a result, as these figures well show us, there no longer is a connection peak between noon and 2 p.m. during which time we can even notice a slight decrease since this is the time when people actually take their lunch break. The Internet has put an end to the "Minitel" effect.

And yet, the activity of surf that is made on travel agent sites remains a private activity, which explains why the connection volume remains high in the evening (after 7 p.m.), and late at night (11 p.m., 12 p.m.). Most of these late connections are also linked to the French pricing policy used by France Telecom, which offers cheaper connection costs late in the evening.

These figures show that the main argument online agencies boast: "Agencies opened 24 hours" is no lie.

These new buying habits represent a real asset for online agencies. Indeed, many of their customers will no longer accept to go back to the time restraints imposed on them by traditional agencies.

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    Delta Air Lines: 270% growth in online revenue in 2000!  

With more than 2.5 million Delta tickets purchased at its own Web site in 2000 (figure that should be compared to the 930.000 tickets purchased in 1999), it is now five percent of Delta's total ticket sales that is made online.

These figures do not take into account the tickets purchased on the Internet via other sites such as Travelocity or Expedia.

All this means that Delta's total online sales must have been much higher than the figures mentioned above, were we to believe the projections made by analysts concerning sales repartition between online agencies and airline companies (50/50).

As far as online sales are concerned, on Delta's Web site only, ticket sales generated $775 million in revenue, up nearly 270 percent from 1999.

Another interesting figure is the 1.5 million new users who registered on the site in 2000, three times more than in 1999 (575.000).

From those results, the airline company expects its total online sales to exceed $2 billion during 2001 (total sales cumulated since the site was launched in 1996).

With such performance, Delta Air Lines would rank among the first eTourism sites in the world.

This means that the site has surpassed $1 billion in total online sales and clocked 3.7 million total online customers since offering online purchasing in 1996.

These figures well prove that the eTourism sector is now really taking off, at least as far as airline companies are concerned, with rates of increase that remain high.

But we should also add, for the attention of European airline companies, that these excellent rates of increase are closely linked to the quality of Delta's website and consequently to the strategic investments it made on the Internet.

We'll soon be doing an eIndice concerning English-speaking airline companies and this will give us the chance to enhance the quality of those sites.

Source : Delta

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