San Diego Business Journal

According to a leading travel industry consumer survey, significantly more travelers are planning and booking trips online.

"While the number of Americans using the Internet appears to have reached a plateau, those who plan and book trips or vacations online continues to climb rapidly," stated a report released in mid-November by the Travel Industry Association of America.

The mission of the national, nonprofit, Washington, D.C.-based association is to promote travel to and within the United States and represent all facets of the country's $600 billion annual travel industry.

According to its findings from a telephone survey of 130 travel managers, 70 percent said their companies are using an online booking tool and nearly 25 percent said they plan to implement online booking in the future.

Findings also indicate that online booking provides travel managers with an additional resource for adding value through reduced transaction fees and integration of policy requirements, such as automated pre-trip approval.

Moving into the fast lane on the information superhighway, Promote La Jolla, a business improvement district that includes more than 1,200 members, has launched a new Web site to lure more travelers to the posh seaside resort community.

The effort is part of a $250,000 annual advertising campaign started a year ago that features sketches and phrases that play off the word La in La Jolla, such as Lavish, Laughter, Laissez Faire, and Ou la la. The tag line for the campaign, created by DiZinno Thompson advertising agency, is: "Shelter from the Norm."

Visitors to www.lajollabythesea.com may browse all La Jolla hotels, restaurants and shops and make hotel room reservations without leaving the site. An online dining reservation link will also be added to the site in the coming year, said Leslie Wade, of Wade Communications, a publicist for the group.

Statistics from the International Visitor Information Center in La Jolla show that La Jolla is a popular national and international destination. Of the more than 40,000 people who visited the center in 2004, approximately 75 percent resided outside San Diego County.

"This new Web site will be a tremendous resource for regional and national visitors to La Jolla," said Deborah Marengo, the president of Promote La Jolla and owner of Goldfish Point Caf & #233;.

The Web site, which was launched in November, was designed by San Diego-based TenEleven Interactive under the supervision of a Promote La Jolla committee chaired by Terry Underwood, the general manager of La Jolla's Grande Colonial Hotel.

Promote La Jolla isn't alone in revamping its Web site. The San Diego Convention Center Corp. recently changed the look of its site , www.sdcc.org , to reflect gold and yellow colors and added a sun symbol logo that resembles that of the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau.

"I applaud them," said Reint Reinders, the president and chief executive officer of ConVis. "It helps for continuity and identification of the San Diego brand."

The two bureaus have different responsibilities. ConVis concentrates on luring leisure visitors to the destination and marketing to attract in-house meetings at local hotels. The Convention Center Corp. has the task of marketing space within the 2.6 million-square-foot, waterfront facility Downtown.