The penetration of broadband has largely been attributed as the major driver of online travel growth (i.e., as consumers came online, they bought). However, as this demand and behavioral shift have occurred, consumers have fired up their lightning-fast connections only to be generally disappointed (ergo the general slowing of online travel growth). Lost somewhat in a sea of travel shopping experiences, haggard by the mind-numbing sameness of it all, consumers appear tired of shopping in travel "bazaars." Time-challenged, attention-starved and perhaps a little over-caffeinated, the online generation that was raised on video games and is enamored with YouTube needs sites that deliver experience fidelity to keep customers "there."

Like the express checkout line at a retail shop, first and second-generation online travel sites (including suppliers) were all about minimizing the number of clicks between "shop" and "buy." For example, through continuous innovation hotel sites migrated from 12 to nine to four clicks (if you got what you wanted on the first try), and like those big-city towns that offer both "country and western" radio stations, airline sites now support both search by price and by schedule.

Emerging from this malaise, a set of new technologies called rich Internet applications (RIAs) offer the promise of "why click through a set of screens at all?" to meet one's travel planning needs.

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