More than 80% of people would use the internet to research and book a Tropical North Queensland holiday, new research from Travelzoo has revealed.

The survey of 900 Australians showed that 81.2% would use an internet search engine to research their trip. A further 4.2% said they would visit an online travel agent while 3.7% opted for a traditional travel agent.

Demand for booking trips online is also extremely strong with 82.4% of respondents saying they would book their TNQ trip online.

Most would book direct with airlines and hotel websites (57.4%) followed by Online Travel Agents (25%) and traditional travel agents (11.7%).

Travelzoo General Manager Australia and South East Asia, Brad Gurrie, who will be speaking at the Destination Online TNQ conference in Cairns on Friday, said travel companies not using the internet to distribute, advertise and sell product are “committing commercial suicide”.

“You’ve got to go where the customers are and they are mostly online with four out of five people saying they would use the internet to research and book a trip to TNQ,” Mr Gurrie said.

“Any travel business that is not making the internet their major sales and distribution priority is committing commercial suicide.”

Gurrie said the survey also canvassed people on their attitude to taking a TNQ holiday.

The findings were generally positive with 31% saying they are considering taking a north Queensland holiday in 2012.

However cost is an issue for 45.8% of respondents who said they regard TNQ as an expensive destination; 52.3% believed it represented “average value” while 1.9% said it was “cheap”.

Asked what would prompt them to book a TNQ holiday 75% said a value for money deal.

“There’s no getting away from the fact that leisure travel consumers are looking for value,” Gurrie said.

“TNQ travel businesses have to be crafting value offers and pushing them via the internet and email newsletters like Travelzoo.

“Destinations like Thailand, Gold Coast, Fiji and Bali are all aggressively targeting Australian leisure travel customers.

 Gurrie continued: “It is essential that all destinations and operators have the tools and strategies that will allow them to stimulate incremental demand without displacing high-yielding customers.”

Destination Online TNQ is a half-day event being held at the Cairns Hilton from 1pm this Friday, November 11. Destination Online TNQ focuses on online marketing, sales and distribution in an afternoon packed with speakers, panels and debate.

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