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Issue 2001-10 - Friday, October 12, 2001

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  French airline web sites - Figures for September 2001

French airline

Traffic rises on eTourism web sites throughout the world, except in France

The last NBTA survey views the future of business travel in a more optimistic light

A return to normal on, and web sites

Consumers' opinion after 09/11: a TIA study


- Average time spent on the sites of the sector in September 2001: 5 minutes and 33 seconds.

- Average number of visits per visitor in September 2001: 4.79 visits per visitor.

Concentration rate on the sector:concentration rate

The concentration on the sector is greatly influenced by the importance of market shares held by the biggest standard airline companies on the French territory. Air France arrives first, without any surprise.

What is more, due to the difficulties French actors on the sector have been facing for many months now, it is hardly surprising to see 7 foreign companies ranked among the 9 most important web sites in terms of traffic.

And finally, even though the leading position held by Air France is far from being questioned yet, please note the presence of among the leading web sites. Indeed, chose a business model that proves particularly well suited to the Internet.

Evolution of the Internet coverage rate:

coverage rate

One of the most interesting elements of these new figures concerns the Internet coverage rate of the sector as well as the impact the tragic events of September 11, 2001 might have had on the visits paid on airline web sites.

We could have thought that these events would have an obvious impact on the traffic registered on the sites of the sector…and yet we cannot help but notice that this was not so as the coverage rate for the sector was 5.54% in September 01 compared to 5.66% in July or even 5.54% in May.

Of course, the question is not to analyse the "quality" of this traffic (to get online news of the disruptions caused by the catastrophe, for instance), but to analyse its volume.

As a result, we notice that, apart from last June, traffic is the same as it was in the last months, and this consistency was noticed on nearly all the sites of the sector.

To that matter, in order to confirm this consistency in the use of airline web sites, you should know that the number of visits per visitor was 4.79 in September, compared to…4.62 in July.

Seemingly, specific Internet customers would have only been slightly affected by the American events.

For your information, please see below the list (in alphabetical order) of the most important web sites in the sector for September 2001:

Source : BVA TFC Research


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    Traffic rises on eTourism web sites throughout the world, except in France  

As we saw in our previous article, traffic on French airline web sites did not suffer in September 2001.

This seems to be quite a common phenomenon on a world scale and even though we did notice that traffic decreased on eTravel web sites at the time of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, it peaked up again at the end of the month.

According to the figures provided by Nielsen/Netratings for the American market, traffic returned to normal on eTravel web sites in the last week of September 01.

American airline companies

This is how most airline company web sites saw a considerable increase in traffic between the first week (before the events) and the last week of September.

As far as Delta Airlines is concerned, it saw a 32% increase in traffic between the first and the last week. The same thing happens on United Airlines: +30%.

American eTourism web sites

Please note that the discounter saw a 11% increase in traffic over the same period.

And finally, web site saw a 7% increase in traffic. Please note that web site, still according to Nielsen/Netratings, registered a total of 1.8 million visitors over the last week of September 01.

An optimism that needs restraining

Nevertheless, I think that we should not be too optimistic as far as these figures are concerned as I never received as many promotional emails from American eTourism and eTravel web sites during the period that followed the attacks.

As a result, I think that this increase of promotional offers certainly helped maintain and then increase the volume of traffic registered on eTravel and eTourism web sites.

I also think that some other phenomena, such as the need for information during this period, probably helped maintain and even increase traffic on these sites, as the figures provided by United Airlines indicate (please see article below).

French eTourism web sites

As far as French eTourism web sites are concerned, they have been going through a much more difficult time and the situation was certainly made worse by the fact that almost every site put an end to its advertising spending at once, whether it was on or offline.

The figures of BVA TFC Research work/office panel give the following results, taking 100% as a basis for the first week of September 01 and basing ourselves on the activity rates of the first 7 TO and agency web sites over this period:

  • First week of September 01: 100%
  • Week from 9/17 to 9/23 01: 64.16%
  • Week from 10/1 to 10/7 01: 85.08%

These figures indicate that three weeks after the events of September 11, 2001, the activity rate that can be seen on these sites still proves 15% lower than what it used to be at the beginning of September 01.

Source : Nielsen/Netratings


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   The last NBTA survey views the future of business travel in a more optimistic light  

A new survey by the NBTA (National Business Travel Association) that was published at the beginning of October 2001 indicates that optimism is back among business travellers.


NBTA surveyed over 200 American corporations and came to the following results:

  • 70% of those surveyed believe that travel industry will take 3 to 6 months to get back to its original level
  • 12% believe it will take 9 months to recover
  • and 18% think it will take 10 months and maybe even more

Important factors

This optimism depends on the safety measures American authorities will take:

  • 46% of the people surveyed indicated that increased security would be a decisive element
  • When 30% indicated that the economic situation within their own company would be the most important element

Let me remind you that NBTA members account for as much as 70% of the $185 billion expenditures within the business travel industry.

Source : NBTA


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    A return to normal on, and web sites  

According to a survey by Webhancer, traffic on American eTourism and etravel web sites is back to what it used to be before the attacks and has even increased on some web sites.

eTourism web sites

Here are the results measured by Webhancer between September 11 and October 5, 2001 on eTourism web sites:

  • From 9/11 to 9/14 01: traffic dropped 57% compared to what it used to be before the attacks took place
  • From 9/17 to 9/21 01: traffic increased steadily and reached 63% of its original levels before September 11, 2001
  • From 9/24 to 9/28 01: traffic reached 87% of pre-attack levels
  • From 10/1 to 10/5 01: traffic reached 104% of pre-attack levels

United Airlines

As far as United Airlines web sites are concerned, results prove different:

  • From 9/11 to 9/14 01: traffic leaped to 424% of pre-attack levels
  • From 9/17 to 9/21 01: the peak previously noticed decreased but still proved 120% higher than pre-attack levels
  • From 9/24 to 9/28 01: same levels as before September 11, 2001
  • From 10/1 to 10/5 01: traffic rose to 155% of pre-attack levels

We can see that the need for information probably played a considerable part in the Internet traffic of airline company web sites just after the attacks.

Source : Webhancer


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    Consumers' opinion after 09/11: a TIA study  

The Travel Industry Association surveyed 1000 Americans and published the results of the study on October 3, 2001.

  • 70% of the respondents indicated that they do not intend to modify their plans to travel
  • 60% of the respondents believe it is perfectly safe to travel within the United-States
  • And yet, only 22% of the respondents believe it is safe to travel outside the United-States…

And yet, please note that:

  • 12% of the respondents cancelled their reservations
  • 8% of the respondents postponed the trips that were already planned…

Nevertheless, this study revealed that fear of unemployment and financial difficulties were mostly what worried these consumers and might dissuade them from travelling, much more than safety itself. Indeed, only 6% of the respondents cited security problems as a major element.

This study was made before the start of the American counterattacks in Afghanistan, and maybe safety issues have now become more important for these American consumers…

Source : TIA


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