A Generational and Geographical Analysis of Internet Travel-Service Usage

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Tourism Analysis




An increasing number of consumers from every generation are purchasing more goods and services over the Internet each year. Responses obtained from personal interviews with over 13,000 individuals visiting a major Florida destination during 1997, 1998, and 1999 provided the sample for this study of generational consumption and Internet use behavioral patterns. A review of the study population responses to the interview suggested the number of travelers consulting the Internet and booking travel over the Internet increased significantly each year over the last 3 years (1997–1999). In addition, a geographical analysis of Internet users suggested that US residents who traveled more than 100 miles to visit the destination area (Tampa, FL, USA) and used the Internet were likely to be a member of the Generation X'ers or Baby Boomers age group, rather than the Mature Traveler age group. The Internet users who traveled longer distances also had a tendency to be more affluent and better educated than the non-Internet user group who traveled shorter distances to the same destination area. The consumer patterns of individuals who would purchase travel services on the Internet represent an exceptional target market for travel-related products because they reportedly spent significantly more for travel services than their Internet nonuser counterparts. Finally, the article outlines significant differences between information-seeking and purchase behavior across various demographic groups.