Europe books it more online

Online travel searches may be down, but online bookings are up (at least in Europe). At the end of 2008, 29 percent of Europe‘s €246 billion travel industry happened in that strange place called the “internet.” Traditional bookings are expected to inch higher by 3 percent, providing just a tad more proof that the action’s on the web. PhoCusWright uncovered this and other travel tidbits in a series of reports it just released.

Spain‘s rail and hotel businesses are starting to shift more transactions to the web, making this country one of the fastest growing for online travel. Seventeen percent in 2007, online bookings are projected to hit 26 percent in 2010. I hope to be part of the solution, as I’ll be booking my hotel in Madrid next month on FastBooking. Italy’s expected to hit 18 percent by 2010.

France is already the second largest online direct booking market in Europe and isn’t slowing down. In 2008, it grew an estimated 16 percent to €7.3 billion, but online travel agencies are growing at an even faster rate. More than 25 percent of all travel is booked online in France, with Germany not far behind at around 20 percent.

Yeah, and there’s a whole lot more. If you’re a stats geek like I am, check out some of the reports that PhoCusWright has available on the travel market. Interesting stuff.