While online travel is experiencing the inevitable deceleration of a maturing market, its annual growth will continue to outpace the total travel market through 2010.

According to PhoCusWright's U.S. Online Travel Overview Eighth Edition, online leisure/unmanaged business travel will grow 9% in 2008 and 7% annually through 2010.

"As the economic outlook becomes increasingly bleak, the real question on the minds of many in the travel industry is, just how bad will it get for travel?" said Lorraine Sileo, PhoCusWright's vice president of research. "Despite softening consumer spending and declining travel demand, online sales will continue to outpace total market growth as travelers increasingly shop and book online, seeking out better bargains."

PhoCusWright's U.S. Online Travel Overview Eighth Edition presents comprehensive analysis and forecasts of the U.S. total and online leisure/unmanaged business travel market. This report covers all major travel product segments and detailed channel segmentation by supplier Web sites, online travel agencies and offline channels.

Key findings from PhoCusWright's U.S. Online Travel Overview Eighth Edition include:

- U.S. leisure/unmanaged business travel bookings will reach nearly $100 billion in 2008, more than one-third of the total travel market, and a 9% increase over 2007.

- Despite broad economic turmoil, softening consumer spending and declining travel demand, the U.S. online travel market is projected to grow far faster than the total travel market through 2010.

- Suppler Web sites and online travel agencies are expected to hold a share equilibrium through 2010 at 61% and 39%, respectively, but this equilibrium remains uneasy: intense competition and powerful economic trends are driving turbulent dynamics in online air and hotel sales.

- Market maturity is sparking?or compelling?significant innovation in consumer marketing, media revenue models, travel search and trip planning tools. The blurring of business models continues as the almighty transaction gives ground to eyeballs and ads.

- The impact of airline capacity cuts across the industry remains far from clear, as a rapidly deteriorating economic climate may further reduce demand and restrain airlines' ability to raise fares.

- Online travel agencies - in particular opaque sites - are getting a mild counter-cyclical lift from weaker demand in the current tough economic climate; travelers are increasingly shopping online for better bargains.

- Dynamic packaging is experiencing a moderate resurgence as bargain-hungry consumers respond to the "book together and save" proposition.

- Spurred largely by rising fuel costs, soaring airfares and growing concern for "green" travel, Amtrak is experiencing record growth in overall ridership and online bookings.

Related Link: PhoCusWright, Inc.