Online travel is big business and has become one of the most popular items purchased by consumers on the internet. In 2005, US$106 billion was spent on online travel products and services with air travel alone accounting for over US$65 billion or sisty per cent. This represents almost a quarter of the total worldwide business-to-consumer (B2C) online spending. A variety of contributing factors is responsible for this development: first, the emergence of the internet and specifically the worldwide web and their commercial applications in the mid 1990s second, a change in the behavior of consumers who through inexpensive internet access and growing familiarity with easy-to-use technology today shop 24/7 from anywhere in the world third, airline companies use the internet not only as a new platform to service, sell and market but by cutting traditional supply channels and reaching directly to the end consumer - also to realize cost savings in their distribution systems fourth, the arrival of new intermediaries in the form of internet travel agencies (such as Expedia and Opodo), network affiliates, and mass sales and marketing websites that distribute travel products to the public. Considering the above, airline companies all over the world have integrated (or are in the process of doing so) electronic commerce or e-commerce into their business operations in various shapes and forms. Today, it is no longer a question of 'if' for airline companies but 'how' to deal with e-commerce and leverage it to enhance their competitiveness. This book explores these issues.
Univ.-Prof. Dr. Michael Hanke, Forschungsschwerpunkte Finanzierung, insb. Quantitative Finanzwirtschaft und Risikomanagement; seit 2004 Professor für Finanzwirtschaft (Schwerpunkt Risikomanagement) an der Universität Innsbruck, seit 2005 Leiter des dortigen Instituts für Banken und Finanzen.