A major finding of TNS’s Digital Travel Study is that trust is less of a factor than ever before for Australians booking travel online.

30% felt that online travel information is more reliable than offline travel, with 27% stating that the service of online travel companies was as good as traditional travel agents.

When asked which travel brands came to mind when planning travel online, the top contenders in the varying sectors were as follows:

  • Travel agents: Flight Centre (39%) and Webjet (31%),
  • Consolidators/OTAs: Webjet (31%) and Wotif (17%),
  • Airlines: Qantas (22%) amd Jetstar (11%) and
  • Other: Google (5%) and Lonely Planet (3%).

The results pointed to the lure of brands, but also the importance of being among the first to market in the online space.

In theory the internet creates an open playing field, but in practice trust is more important when you can’t see the other person – leveraging or building brand equity is the key to building trust online,” said Carolyn Childs, director of travel and leisure research at TNS.

We don’t necessarily need to be tied to the digital approach; it’s about marketing in the digital age, not just digital marketing,” said Childs.