Online Travel Sites (OTAS) Battle For Share but Account for Only 16% of USA Travel
OTA only 16% of travel in USA
The travel industry is now full into the digital age which has diminished the role of the old school travel agent and brought in a host of alternatives, including the news shared accommodations with the likes of Airbnb.
But more is to come and with the growth of mobile travel and bookings the new channels are also changing. Travelers do increasingly use online travel sites to search for hotels, flights, but according to Phocuswright the online travel agencies, (OTAs) accounted for only 16% of travel gross bookings in the U.S. in 2014. The rest in made up by travelers who may look at OTAs but book at supplier websites, travel management companies, by phone or walk-ins at suppliers, such as hotels and airlines and now Googles own Bookings via HotelFinder.
Majel Reyes shows the Havana apartment she renovated to rent via shared-space sites like Airbnb and HomeAway. The segment is a fast-rising competitor… View Enlarged Image
Travelers, says Phocuswright, may research hotels and activities on OTA sites, but don’t necessarily book trips there.”There are many ways to book travel,” said Douglas Quinby, VP of research at Phocuswright. ” and OTAs, while huge are only a part of the picture.
This is, of course, a hot topic right now with much controversy about the rise of direct bookings and the new millennial like traveler who favour a do-it yourself direct approach to booking travel, and the supposed death of the billboard effect. Both contrary positions to each other on the importance of OTAs.
This Phocuswright study shows that OTAs, while important, are not the entire industry. Nevertheless the power of the Big OTAs cannot be dismissed. While OTAs Account for Only 16% of USA Travel Market, the battle for top place is fierce. Expedia (including Orbitz) had $8.59 billion in revenue in 2014. Priceline generated $8.44 billion. Together they account for 74% of the OTA travel share in the US. That cant be ignored as hotels and tourism marketers have learned, even as they try to increase their share of direct bookings.
Travel Bookers Prefer Hotel Websites
travelers shifting to hotel websites for direct bookings
A new study by Criteo and PhoCusWright shows that 41% booked using an airline website or app, vs. 26% who used an OTA. The same was true for hotel bookings. Over 33% choose to book via the hotels website or app whereas only 25% booked through an OTA. The trends are clear as more and more travel bookers shift to brand sites leaving on line travel agents sites.
“Other responses indicated that leisure travelers were more engaged with travel brands than OTAs. When asked if they subscribed to emails or e-newsletters from travel companies, 34% said they subscribed to those from hotels, and 32% were signed up to receive such communications from airlines. Meanwhile, 26% subscribed to OTA emails or e-newsletters.”
UBS research reveals that that travel agencies are losing share of total online travel bookings in the US and by 2019 OTAs will likely account for less than 30% of total online bookings.
“eMarketer estimates that there will be 110.7 million US digital travel bookers this year, representing 52.5% of internet users. Such activity will push digital travel sales up to $167.99 billion.” – See full emarketing article and research findings at http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1012550
Our previous article on this shift to direct booking, showed that “OTAs have minimal loyalty and low brand awareness when come to large chains and brand name hotels.” Clearly hotels are in a good position to start taking back market share and getting more direct bookings.
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Consumer Trends 2014: Explosion in mobile bookings – Travel Weekly.
According to Travel Weekly’s 2014 Consumer Trends survey, the percentage of travelers who have used a mobile device to purchase travel surged, from 23% in 2012 to 38% in 2014.
PhoCusWright studies shows that consumers are mostly using their mobile devices for shopping which is far greater than those who book on a mobile device. PhocusWright also notes bookings are rising, with hotels and car rentals leading the way. Rose predicts that by the end of 2014, 50% of Americans will have booked some kind of travel product on a mobile device.
The phone tablet mobile device (a cross between a smartphone and a tablet — the “phablet”) — is expected to lead to an explosion in travel bookings.
Mobile Is Beginning To Define The Multitrillion Dollar Global Travel Industry | Business Insider.
imagine that – 7% of all online-bookings are by tablet and tablets and ipdads account for 11% of all time spent on travel sites in april 2013 accouding to PhoCusWright.
What does this mean to the Future of Travel – Read more on Business Insider.