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The Changing Impact of the Internet on Travel Planning Behavior

The Internet has grown to be one of the most effective means for trip planning and recent research shows that that the nature and extent of travel planning behavior has evolved over time. This study builds upon this literature by examining the impact of the Internet on fifteen different facets of travel planning using data sets describing online American travel in 2007 and 2009. The results indicate that the use of the Internet has resulted in an increase in the number of places considered visiting, the number of destinations actually visited, the amount of time spent on advance planning, and the number of information sources used for planning while the likelihood of calling to make a reservation or to request travel information decreased. However, the extent of impact appears to have declined significantly from 2007 to 2009. Further, the findings of this study indicate that the impact of the Internet on travel planning behavior are directly associated with the perceived benefits of Internet use. Based upon these findings, it appears that the extent to which traditional Internet-based information channels affect travel planning behavior has stabilized and that emerging Internet based technologies such as Web 2.0 and mobile computing are looming as major forces reshaping traveler planning behavior. This paper argues that future research should focus on better understanding the ways these new systems affect travel planning behavior.