Q1 Web Travel Spending Records Gains

NEW YORK Online spending on travel arrangements grew 31 percent to $9.1 billion in the first quarter, according to the latest report from comScore Networks.

Airline tickets represented $6.1 billion, or about 67 percent, of all travel-related sales on the Internet in Q1, according to the Reston, Va.-based online research firm. Hotel accommodations accounted for $1.6 billion, or 18 percent, of Web travel sales and car rentals made up $940,000, or 10 percent.

While airline tickets have traditionally accounted for about two-thirds of online travel sales, comScore noted that many major travel suppliers have placed an increased emphasis on hotel and package sales to compensate for a reduction in airline commissions.

As a result, Q1 online sales generated from hotel accommodations grew 26 percent from the same time a year ago. Sales garnered from travel packages and all other travel purchases, such as cruise bookings and bus and rail tickets, rose 97 percent to $435,000.

Expedia Travel, Orbitz.com and Travelocity are among the most popular sites in the travel category. Expedia welcomed 16 million unique visitors in May, while the latter two Web sites each recorded about 13 million. Other sites in the travel category enjoying significant traffic in May include Trip Network (12.8 million unique visitors), AOL Propriety Travel (7.2 million), Hotwire.com (6.8 million), Southwest.com (6.5 million), Priceline.com (6 million) and Hotels.com sites (5.4 million).