Israelis increasingly using the Net to book vacations

A survey released recently reveals that some 33% of Israelis book their vacation through the Internet.

virtual vacation 88 (photo credit: )
virtual vacation 88
(photo credit: )
While a recently released American study reported that 51 percent of US travel was booked on-line in 2007, an Israeli survey released this week revealed that only one-third of Israelis, some 33%, book their vacation through the Internet. The 33% represents a significant increase from 2006, when only 26% of Israelis said they use the Internet to book vacation packages. "Travel agents should be aware of the growth in number of people who prefer to book vacation packages on-line and they should adapt themselves to the new reality whether by launching their own Web sites or by searching for alternative ways," Eyal Shmueli, publisher and editor in chief of Israel Travel News and one of the initiators of IMTM, said. According to the report, 50% of surveyed Israelis said they prefer to book vacation packages via travel agents and tourism companies, while 12% of those surveyed said they do not book vacation packages at all. The Israeli survey was conducted by The GeoCartographia Research Institute and published ahead of the 14TH International Mediterranean Tourism Market convention, to be held February 5 - 6 at the Tel Aviv Exhibition Grounds. Those aged 18-34 are the most likely to use the Internet to book a vacation, the study said. The survey also revealed an increase in the number of haredim who book their vacations on-line, as 36% of haredim surveyed said they use the Internet for booking a package deal, a significant increase from 2006, when only 17% of haredim booked their vacation on-line. David Machlev, deputy director general of marketing at Daka90, Israel's leading on-line company for last minute travel packages and plane tickets, told The Jerusalem Post that 25% of the Web site's users booked their vacation on-line in 2007. According to Machlev, 95% of Israelis between the ages of 16-28 surf the company's Web site and "6% of the people in this age group purchased tourist products on-line in 2007," he said, while noting that 85% of Israelis between the ages of 28-45 surf Daka90's Web site, but "only 4% of them purchased a packages or a plane ticket on-line in 2007." Meanwhile, Machlev said, among Israelis aged 45-60, some 60% regularly check Daka90's Web site, however only 1.5% of these users bought tourist products on-line in 2007. Some 80,000 Israelis surf the Daka90's Web site a day during the peak summer tourist season, while some 35,000 users a day visit the site during the slower winter season. The Israeli user spends four minutes on average searching for a vacation package, a plane ticket or for tourist information about a desired destination and 40% of Internet users check vacation Web sites even when they do not have plans to go on vacation, the study said. "The Israeli tourist prefers sealed, all-inclusive deals that include plane tickets, hotel rooms and transferring arrangements and these are the products that are being sold more often via the Web site," Machlev said. "However, a customer that is interested in a more complicated trip will call the information center and will book off-line," he added.