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BizReport : Research archives : April 20, 2007

Maps leads travel destination sites

Online travel is a fast-growing industry. More users are planning trips, buying tickets and reserving hotel or vacation rental space online. But new research shows that mapping websites are actually the leading draw for travel planners.

by Kristina Knight

According to the Nielsen//Netratings NetView report, mapping sites MapQuest (15 million users) and Google Maps (9.2 million users) are ahead of travel destination sites Expedia (5.6 million users), Orbitz (4.8 million users) and Travelocity (462 thousand users).

Also of interest to advertisers is that women are actually doing much of the research. According to the report, 42 million women research and plan travel online compared with 40 million men. Age-wise, the top demographic for planning vacations online is the 45+ age group (40.1 million), followed by 35-44 (30 million) and 55+ (19.5 million).

For advertisers, realizing that mapping sites are an important part of travel planning could open a new advertising door. It has been said that reviews of destinations and trip planning tips add value to a website, encouraging vacation planners to return time after time. However, this new research indicates that the first stop for many is actually to map the area. For marketers in the travel industry, advertising on a mapping site could drive more traffic to a travel website, thus increasing overall revenue.

Tags: online travel, travel industry, travel spending

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