More Travelers Surfing The Web To Plan Trips - Study (Newsbytes; 01/11/99) WASHINGTON, DC, U.S.A., 1999 JAN 11 (Newsbytes) -- By Bob Woods, Newsbytes. More than 33.8 million people used the World Wide Web in 1998 to aid in the planning of their business and/or personal travel, an year-to-year increase of 189 percent, according to a new study by the Travel Industry Association of America (TIA). Forty-eight percent of all online travelers and 51 percent of all online frequent travelers consulted the Internet to get information on destinations or to check prices and schedules, the group also said. The number of travelers who used the Internet for both travel-related surfing and other purposes rose 141 percent from 29 million in 1996 to 70 million in 1998. In addition, the number of people who went one step further and booked reservations via the Internet increased 24 percent to 6.7 million in 1998 from 5.4 million in 1997, TIA said in its "Technology and Travel 1998" study. In 1997, though, 5.4 million or 11 percent of all Internet users in that year used the Web to book reservations. In explaining the increasing number of people using the Net to make reservations rose versus the dropping share of all Internet users booking online, TIA officials said, "overall Internet use is growing at a faster rate than the growth rate of those making travel reservations via the Internet. The share of all American adults who made reservations via the Net rose from 3 percent in 1997 to 4 percent in 1998, TIA also said. For purposes of the report, travel reservations include the actual booking/paying for an airline ticket, hotel room, rental car, package tour and so on, TIA said. Other survey results showed 92 percent of Internet users took a trip of 100 miles or more away from home in the past year, while 45 percent of all Internet users are frequent travelers who took five or more trips in the past year. Of the Americans using the Net to either research travel plans or book reservations, 92 percent were either extremely satisfied or satisfied with their most recent experience, TIA said. Eighty-two percent of those surveyed said they had heard of at least one of ten new travel technologies covered in the survey. Two out of five travelers, or 44 percent, had actually tried at least one. And 71 percent said they would either definitely or maybe consider trying one or more of these ten new technologies in the future. Of the ten new technologies covered in the study, satellite navigation systems ranked the highest in awareness and interest in using among the ten new technologies presented to travelers. Electronic airline tickets ranked the highest for actual use among travelers. Computer kiosks at airports/hotels/welcome centers ranked second in awareness, use and future interest. The other seven technologies are electronic highway tolls; direction kiosks at rental car offices; self-service ticketing machines; smart travel cards for airlines, hotels and rental cars; electronic subway passes; trade show smart cards; and electronic passports. "Technology and Travel 1998" is based on a telephone survey of 1,200 US adults, and was conducted in September 1998. TIA is the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the $502 billion travel industry. The association's Web site is at http://www.tia.org . The report can be ordered from the Web site.