By Expedia Guest Author, on April 20, 2006

Expedia Travel Trendwatch Finds Travelers Booking Summer Trips Earlier This Year Despite the Expectation of Larger Crowds and Higher Rates

New Quarterly Research Report from Expedia.com and Travel Expert Chris McGinnis Provides Trends, Data and Tips to Inform and Empower Travelers

BELLEVUE, Wash., April 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Expedia.com® (NASDAQ: EXPE), the world’s leading online travel service, today introduced the first issue of its quarterly report, Expedia Travel Trendwatch™, which focuses on the upcoming summer travel season. Chris McGinnis, a 20-year travel industry veteran most recently serving as a travel correspondent on CNN Headline News, is the editor of the Expedia Travel Trendwatch™. Each report will provide travelers with a treasure trove of trends, data and advice designed to help people make better travel decisions. To view the complete report, please visit http://www.expedia.com/trendwatch .

 

“There’s no doubt that after a decade of online trailblazing and 25 million travelers visiting the site each month, Expedia.com has considerable intelligence and information to offer to travelers,” said McGinnis. “My insight and expertise in the travel industry is coupled with Expedia®’s unparalleled travel intelligence within the report to create an invaluable source of insider knowledge for travelers this summer.”

 

Key summer travel trends and tips discussed in the debut issue of the Expedia Travel Trendwatch™ include the following:

 

  1) Travelers are planning and booking summer vacations early this year to
  save money and to get the vacation they want.
      -- An April Expedia.com survey revealed that the vast majority
         (85 percent) of U.S. adults who are planning to travel this summer
         have already booked or will book their travel plans at least one
         month in advance.(1)
      -- In addition, the Travel Industry Association of America (TIA) said
         one in every three U.S. travelers is planning travel earlier this
         year than they did in 2005, with many already committed to plans
         for their longest summer trip.
      -- Trendwatch™ Tip:  Book your trip either very early or very late.
         Early bookers are most likely to avoid sell-outs at popular
         destinations and can usually take advantage of advance purchase
         discounts. While last-minute deals are not as plentiful as in
         previous years, if you are flexible with dates and destinations,
         you can still save.

2) Despite generally higher airline ticket prices, demand for summer
travel remains steady
— According to an Expedia.com survey, 55 percent of U.S. adults plan
to fly as much this summer as last summer and six percent say that
they plan on flying more despite rising airline ticket prices in
2006.(2)
— Additionally, the Air Transport Association recently reported that
airfares in the U.S. rose 10.6 percent for January and February
2006, over the same period in 2005.
— On the bright side, Expedia data show prices decreasing on several
popular routes.
— Trendwatch™ Tip: Lock it in! To avoid the dreaded middle-seat
scenario or the possibility of another fare increase, travelers who
find a great air deal should book it immediately before it’s gone.

3) Despite higher prices, crowds and a relatively weak dollar, Europe
remains a hit with Americans this summer.
— According to British Airways, bookings for spring and summer trips
to the U.K. in 2006 are stronger compared with the same period in
2005.
— The most popular European package destinations booked on
Expedia.com as of March 31, 2006 include (in descending order):
London, Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Venice, Dublin, Madrid,
Prague and Florence.
— Trendwatch™ Tip: Visit Eastern Europe. Countries such as
Croatia, Poland and Hungary offer a unique European experience,
without the extensive crowds or higher prices found in more
frequented destinations.

4) Summer vacationers are better informed and more prepared than ever,
thanks to the Internet.
— Online user-generated reviews and ratings are in hot demand, with
Expedia travelers posting over 100,000 traveler opinions since
January 2005 — offering more reviews than any other online travel
agency.
— In addition, a recent TIA survey indicated 78 percent of online
travelers (79 million Americans) turned to the Internet for travel
or destination information in 2005 — a 15 percent jump over 2004.
— Trendwatch™ Tip: Majority rules. When checking out online
traveler reviews, focus on absorbing key themes of the reviews, not
necessarily one-off feedback, before making a decision on a hotel
stay. Also, rely on sites that verify that posted reviews are based
on actual stays.

 

To view the full report or for additional information on these trends, please visit http://www.expedia.com/trendwatch .

 

About Expedia Travel Trendwatch™

 

The Expedia Travel Trendwatch™ is a quarterly report on consumer travel trends, insight and tips from Expedia.com, the world’s leading online travel service, and Chris McGinnis, a 20-year travel industry veteran who is the editor of the report. McGinnis’ travel industry insight and expertise, coupled with Expedia’s unparalleled travel intelligence, can be found throughout each report, providing a treasure trove of data, trends, and tips designed to help empower and inform travelers.

 

About Chris McGinnis:

 

Chris McGinnis is the editor of the Expedia Travel Trendwatch™. Prior to teaming up with Expedia in early 2006, McGinnis covered the travel beat in a variety of roles, from travel correspondent on CNN Headline News and travel columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Entrepreneur magazine, to producer of special travel sections for Fortune magazine. Based in San Francisco, his is also a speaker, consultant and the author of two books on business travel: The Unofficial Business Traveler’s Pocket Guide and 202 Tips Even the Best Business Travelers May Not Know (McGraw-Hill).

 

About Expedia.com:

 

Expedia.com is the world’s leading online travel provider, helping more than 25 million travelers per month easily plan and book travel. Expedia.com ( http://www.expedia.com/ ) aims to provide personalized service, the latest technology and the widest selection of vacation packages, flights, hotels, rental cars, cruises and in-destination activities, attractions, and services. With the Expedia Best Price Guarantee, Expedia.com promises to offer to its customers the best rates available online for all types of travel, making it the most comprehensive customer guarantee in online travel. Expedia.com is an operating company of Expedia, Inc. CST: 2029030-40

 

NOTE: Expedia, Expedia.com, the airplane logo, Expedia Travel Trendwatch, Trendwatch, Vacation Deprivation and Classic Vacations are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Expedia, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries. Hotels.com is a trademark of Hotels.com, L.P. in the United States and other countries. Hotwire is either a registered trademark or trademark of Hotwire, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries. TripAdvisor is a trademark of TripAdvisor, Inc. in the United States and other countries. Other product and company names mentioned herein may be trademarks of their respective owners. CST # 2029030-40

 

Methodology for the Harris Interactive survey can be found at http://www.expedia.com/trendwatch.

 

(1) Harris Interactive® fielded the online survey on behalf of Expedia.com between April 5-7, 2006 among a nationwide sample of 2,327 U.S. adults 18 years of age or older. Sampling error of the overall results is plus or minus 3 percentage points. This online sample is not a probability sample.

 

(2) Expedia.com survey by Harris Interactive, April 2006.

 

SOURCE: Expedia.com

 

CONTACT: Erin Krause of Expedia.com, +1-425-679-4317, or
press@expedia.com</br/>

 

Web site: http://www.expedia.com/