Gartner Group Inc. projects annual online travel revenue to grow nearly sixfold by the end of 2001.
The market should jump from US$5 billion in 1999 to $30 billion in 2001, according to the Stamford, Conn.-based consulting firm.
"By the second quarter of 2000, nearly all leisure travel companies that do not offer competitively designed online reservations, ticket sales, and customizable travel information will be driven out of business or acquired," said Gartner analyst Lou Marcoccio.
He predicted that airlines that don't offer easy-to-use online reservations and ticketing won't remain profitable or competitive in the leisure travel market.
A Gartner survey of 800 office and home users in 33 countries who have Internet browsers showed that 75% research flights and discounts online before booking travel and 16% pay online for tickets. More than 70% said they would buy all their personal travel online if they had more choices online, including seat assignments and special meals. Almost 30% said the online purchase process is too complex or they worried about security.