Online Travel Agents a Consolidated Channel | The Economist

Online travel agents: Sun, sea and surfing | The Economist.

Expedia has become the world’s biggest travel agent. Last year, its gross bookings were $39.4 billion, through brands such as Trivago, and Hotwire, as well as its own eponymous operation.

The third-largest travel agent, Priceline, whose brands include, had booking sales of 39.2 billion in 2013.

In 2013 online travel agents (OTAs) had combined bookings of $278 billion, according to Euromonitor, a market-research firm.

OTAs are making their Mobile apps more appealing by, for example, adding location services that help travellers find the nearest rooms and restaurants. But the swing to mobile is also because the way people plan trips is changing.

But not markets are online: Germans still arrange their holidays through traditional travel agents. The Chinese, who now spend more on travel in aggregate than any other country’s population, but they booked only 15% of their trips by value online in 2012, says PhoCusWright. PhoCusWright estimates Chinas online bookings will be 24% by 2015, making the Chinese online-travel market worth around $30 billion.

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