More of us are buying our holidays online, but many agents are still technologically challenged.
The online travel industry is set to grow from £592m to £3.7bn by 2005. But operators are not taking advantage of web facilities, according to research by Forrester Research.
Only half the 35 travel companies surveyed allowed customers to research holidays, flights and hotels online. And only a third of those provided online booking facilities.
Travel agent Trailfinders, for example, does not offer online booking. “We feel the Trailfinders personal service can’t be achieved by booking online,” said spokesperson for Trailfinders. “We have no plans to start an online service either.”
Travel companies that do offer online booking fall down when it comes to tailoring web services to individuals, the report reveals.
Almost two thirds of the companies surveyed received a quarter of their bookings online. But a staggering 23 percent didn’t even know how many of their customers booked online.
Those companies that do offer online booking say business is booming.
“We keep records of all people who book via the site,” said a spokesperson for British Airways. “Our site booking service is rapidly becoming more popular.”
A third of travel firms questioned expected half their customers to book online by 2005.