Major travel groups are responding to fierce competition from online travel agents, such as Expedia and Travelocity, in the fight for the lucrative online travel retail industry. The global e-travel market has developed significantly over the last 10 years, causing severe problems for traditional high-street travel agents. Online sales accounted for a 19.5% share of the global retail travel sector in 2006, the majority of which were made via online travel agents. In the UK, online bookings increased from 7% in 2002, to 35% of all bookings in 2006, according to Euromonitor International. Traditional tour operators are realising the potential in this channel and now view the Internet as the only way forward. Traditional tour operators are improving their online facilities and investing in their websites in order to compete with online travel agents. Thomson, for example, recently enhanced its main website with a raft of new features and content, in an attempt to retain customers and encourage them to book through the site. It also introduced additional editorial content to help consumers, as well as to enable the site to be picked up by Google in natural searches.Source: traveldailynews.com. Read full article here.