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U.S. Travel ecommerce spending tops $100 billion, airlines outpace hotels

@denschaal

Feb 22, 2013 8:17 am

Skift Take

The online future of travel was decided a while ago, the growth numbers on mobile will define the next decade.

— Dennis Schaal

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U.S. travel e-commerce spending in 2012 broke through the $100 billion barrier for the first as airlines’ beat out hotels websites in the growth race.

And, on the company level, InterContinental Hotels Group, VRBO, TripAdvisor’s BookingBuddy sites, and Kayak outpaced the rest of the pack in page views, while Expedia, Choice Hotels and Travelocity posted some of the largest declines.

2012 Travel Spending by Sub-Category,2012 vs. 2011

Total U.S. – Home & Work Computers

Spending ($ Millions) Share of Travel Spending Y/Y % Chg
Total Travel E-Commerce $102,951 100% 9%
Air Travel $66,529 65% 10%
Hotel Reservations $19,384 19% 7%
Car Rental $9,698 9% 6%
Travel Packages $5,140 5% 10%
Other Travel $2,200 2% 10%

 

Among airlines, United Airlines recorded the largest gain (4.9%) in page views, but this was mostly due to its merger with Continental, as the latter directed travelers looking for airline tickets to United.com.

The assessments of winners and losers, and the U.S. travel e-commerce sales estimates come from comScore as it released its 2012 numbers, with the category growing 10% to $103 billion, topping the magic $100 billion mark for the first time.

Air travel dominated e-commerce spending with a 65% share of the nearly $103 billion in spending. Air travel grew 10% to $66.5 billion, besting the next largest sector, hotels (19% share), which saw spending increase at a 7% pace to nearly $19.4 billion.

Top Airline Properties by Share of Page Views, 2012 vs 2011

Total U.S. – Home & Work Computers

Share (%) of Category Page Views
2011 2012 Pt Chg
 Travel Category – Airlines 100.0% 100.0% 0.0
1 Southwest Airlines Co. 19.8% 20.0% 0.2
2 Delta Airlines 15.9% 15.5% -0.4
3 United Airlines* 9.8% 14.7% 4.9
4 American Airlines 13.8% 13.2% -0.6
5 US Airways Group, Inc. 3.4% 3.4% 0.0
6 Continental Airlines Sites* 6.4% 2.7% -3.7
7 JetBlue Airways 2.6% 2.5% -0.1
8 Alaska Airlines.com 3.1% 2.5% -0.6
9 Allegiant Air.com 2.6% 2.1% -0.6
10 AirTran Airways 2.6% 2.0% -0.6

 

Car rentals (9% share of the market) grew a tad slower than hotels and were considerably more sluggish than airlines, with car rental e-commerce sales in the U.S. rising 6% to nearly $9.7 billion, according to comScore.

Two smaller categories, travel packages (5% share) and “other travel” (2% share), grew on par with airlines at a 10% pace. comScore estimate consumer spending on travel packages at $5.1 billion, and other travel, which could include a bit of cruise, as well as tours and activities, at $2.2 billion.

Putting aside the impact of United’s merger with Continental, individual airlines didn’t take much market share in page views as Southwest (20%), Delta (15.5%), and United (14.7%) dominated consumers’ page views.

In the U.S. online travel agency category in 2012, Expedia was the biggest loser, with its share of page views declining 6 points to 31.6%. There appears to be a deliberate reason for Expedia giving ground, however.

Expedia’s CFO Mark Okerstrom said recently that the company got “more conservative on marketing spend” in the first half of 2012 as the company worked on improving the operation of Expedia-branded sites, in particular.

Travelocity also came up short in page views in 2012, with its share of page views falling 2.4 points to 7.6%, comScore states.

The largest winners in the online travel agency category were TripAdvisor’s BookingBuddy sites (which include SniqueAway and Tingo ), and Kayak, which saw their page view share climb 2.3 points and 2.2 points, respectively.

Top Online Travel Agent Properties by Share of Page Views, 2012 vs 2011

Total U.S. – Home & Work Computers

Share (%) of Category Page Views
2011 2012 Pt Chg
Travel Category – Online Travel Agents 100.0% 100.0% 0.0
1 Expedia Inc 37.6% 31.6% -6.0
2 Priceline.com Inc 15.7% 17.3% 1.6
3 Orbitz Worldwide 12.9% 12.9% -0.1
4 Fareportal Media Group 8.5% 9.2% 0.7
5 Travelocity 10.0% 7.6% -2.4
6 Kayak.com Network 4.7% 6.9% 2.2
7 BookingBuddy Sites 0.0% 2.3% 2.3
8 CheapCaribbean.com 1.0% 1.4% 0.5
9 BookIt.com 0.9% 1.1% 0.1
10 AppleVacations.com 0.7% 0.6% -0.1

 

On the hotel front, InterContinental Hotels Group was the biggest gainer, rising 3.5 points to a 7.9% share while still trailing Marriott, which leads all the major brands with a 11.7% share.

HomeAway’s VRBO shot up 3.3 points to an astounding 6.5% share of page views when you consider it has a larger share that Disney Parks, Choice and Best Western.

Choice Hotels saw the largest decline, 2.6 points to 5.4% share.

Top Hotel & Resort Properties by Share of Page Views, 2012 vs 2011

Total U.S. – Home & Work Computers

Share (%) of Category Page Views
2011 2012 Pt Chg
Travel  Category – Hotels/Resorts 100.0% 100.0% 0.0
1 Marriott 11.8% 11.7% -0.1
2 InterContinental Hotels Group 4.4% 7.9% 3.5
3 Wyndham Worldwide 7.9% 7.5% -0.4
4 Hilton Hotels 9.0% 7.0% -2.0
5 VRBO.com 3.2% 6.5% 3.3
6 Disney Parks & Travel 6.0% 5.7% -0.3
7 Choice Hotels International 8.0% 5.4% -2.6
8 TotalRewards.com 2.6% 3.3% 0.6
9 Expedia Hotels N/A 3.1% N/A
10 BestWestern Hotels 2.7% 2.8% 0.2

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