Online travel agents (OTAs) are leading the direct bookings when it comes to online engagement, particularly in regards to mobile traffic.
A new whitepaper from EyeforTravel and Jumpshot – Understanding the Travel Consumer’s Path to Purchase – found OTAs are winning more bookings than travel suppliers by a “noticeable margin”.
In Germany, the UK and the US OTAs represent the largest vertical, taking a greater number of bookings than airline and accommodation brands.
In the UK and Germany, consumer surveys of nearly 4,500 travellers presented in the paper revealed that OTAs controlled 47.1% and 45.5%, respectively, of the bookings made on web browsers across all devices in the two countries.
Meanwhile, in the US, the paper compared clickstream data tracking purchases made on Booking.com, Expedia.com, Airbnb.com, Hotels.com, Delta, Southwest, United, Ryanair, Easyjet, Lufthansa, Emirates, Marriott, Hilton IHG and Wyndham.
It found that OTAs were responsible for 42% of the bookings made in the period measured, against 39% for airlines and just 19% for hotel brands.
The report also claims that traffic is increasingly heading towards mobile, where OTAs are “convincingly ahead”. OTAs across the five countries studied – Brazil, Germany, India, the UK and US – all saw higher conversion rates than airline or hotel brands in the study.
Alex Hadwick, Head of Research at EyeforTravel, said mobile optimisation is going to be “critical” for the survival of all travel brands.
“Firstly, mobile is in the ascendancy, becoming the primary means of travel research over the last year or so and this will increase as younger consumers, who are heavier mobile users anyway, become more prominent in travel consumption,” he said.
“Secondly, search engines are also becoming more mobile-focused in how they rank sites. This is especially important as nine out of 10 consumers visit a search engine in the final 15 sites before purchase, according to this research.”