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Online Travel Agency Hotel Bookings Grew Faster Than Hotels’ Own Websites in Q1


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Online travel agencies are taking market share when it comes to hotel bookings for leisure and business travelers, but hotels’ own direct channels still dominate, and travel agencies are still well ahead, too, if the TravelClick numbers are to be believed.

— Dennis Schaal

Online travel agencies picked up market share in North American hotel reservations for leisure and business travelers in the first quarter, increasing their bookings 9.2% year over year compared with 6.1% growth for hotels’ own websites, or brand.com.

That’s one of the takeaway’s from the “TravelClick North America Distribution Review, Second Quarter 2014.”

Rounding out the Q1 numbers by channel for individual leisure travelers (not groups) and business travelers (including large managed travel programs), the global distribution system channel (travel agents) increased reservations 2.9%, hotel direct numbers (phone calls directly to the property and walk-ins) declined 0.4%, and phone calls to hotels’ 800 numbers (Central Reservation Office) dipped 0.9%.

The ground gained by online travel agencies during the first quarter isn’t necessarily a terrible thing for hotels, even though the online travel agency channel is an expensive one for the hotel industry. That’s because online travel agencies’ average daily rates (ADR) in Q1 jumped 7.9%, the highest increase among all of the distribution channels, including brand.com.

During the same period, brand.com’s ADR increased just 3.2%.

Overall, when taking all of the distribution channels into account, ADRs in North America increased 3.3% in the first quarter year over year.

When it comes to hotel bookings for leisure travelers alone, much of the discussion revolves around online powerhouses such as Booking.com and Expedia.

According to TravelClick’s numbers, when considering individual leisure travelers and business travelers, the online travel agencies have smallest market share among the channels in North America, even smaller than hotels’ toll-free numbers.

Business travel bookings are captured in the global distribution system channel.

The following chart depicts TravelClick’s market share numbers by channel for actual reservations in Q1.

Channel Market Share Q1 2014 YoY Change
Brand.com 27.10% 6.1%
Direct to Hotel 25.30% -0.4%
GDS 20.40% 2.9%
Central Reservations 14.00% -0.9%
OTA 13.20% 9.2%

Source: TravelClick

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