When travelers power up their laptops to book a trip, they’re probably headed to an online travel agency such as Expedia, Travelocity, and Orbitz.

Fifty-eight percent of travelers turned to these online booking websites in 2013, according to MMGY Global’s 2013 Portrait of American Travelers, which bases all statistics on interviews conducted with 2,511 active leisure travelers in February 2013.

That’s more than the overall percentage of travelers that visited brands’ booking portals (45 percent), metasearch sites (28 percent) , and travel agency websites (6 percent).

Despite the sites’ popularity, use of online booking websites declined two percent over the last year. Meanwhile, metasearch sites such as Kayak and Momondo saw a surge in popularity as usage grew from 18 percent in 2012 to 28 percent in 2013.

Not all new types of booking website trump traditional sources. Traditional travel agencies continue to deals websites like LivingSocial Escapes and private-sale websites such as Jetsetter.

Types of Typical Websites for Travel Reservation 2010 (%) 2011 (%) 2012 (%) 2013 (%)
An online travel agency such as Expedia, Travelocity or Orbitz 66 62 60 58
A brand travel service supplier site such as American Airlines, Hilton or Hertz 48 46 45 45
A comparison shopping site such as Kayak or Dealbas 15 14 18 28
A traditional travel agent 8 9 7 6
A collective-buying website such as LivingSocial Escapes that allows multiple peopl to book the same deals/packsges at the same time NA 5 7 6
American Express Travel Services 5 6 6 5
A private-sale website such as Jetsetter or Vacationist that provides invitation-only access to travel deals, discounts unavailable to the general public NA 5 4 4
Other 7 7 13 15

Generational Differences

Online travel agencies such as Expedia and Travelocity are the preferred type of websites among all generations except the ‘Matures’ (age 68+) whom prefer to go directly to a brand’s website.

Millennials (age 18-34) are the most likely to consult metasearch sites such as Kayak. Thirty-nine percent of Millennials cite metasearch sites as their preferred source of information. Only 35 percent of ‘Xers’ (age 35-48), 23 percent of Boomers (age 49-67), and 14 percent of ‘Matures’ also select metasearch sites as their top source.

Young Millennials travelers are also the most likely of all age groups (7 percent) to purchase a trip through a collective-buying website like LivingSocial Escape, while the oldest travelers, ‘Matures’, are the most likely (12 percent) to use a traditional travel agency.

Types of Typical Websites for Travel Reservation Millennials (%) Xers (%) Boomers (%) Matures (%)
An online travel agency such as Expedia, Travelocity or Orbitz 64 61 53 41
A brand travel service supplier site such as American Airlines, Hilton or Hertz 41 42 50 55
A comparison shopping site such as Kayak or Dealbas 39 25 23 14
A traditional travel agent 7 6 6 1
A collective-buying website such as LivingSocial Escapes that allows multiple peopl to book the same deals/packsges at the same time 7 4 6 12
American Express Travel Services 6 5 4 5
A private-sale website such as Jetsetter or Vacationist that provides invitation-only access to travel deals, discounts unavailable to the general public 6 4 3 1
Other 6 14 22 26

Wealthy Travelers Have Most Booking Options

In their ongoing search for a deal, travelers in the lowest income bracket ($50,000-$124,999) are the most likely to use online booking sites such as Expedia and Travelocity and metasearch sites such as Kayak.

Travelers in the highest income bracket ($250,000+) have the means to explore other options. They are the most likely to book directly on brands’ websites, use American Express Travel Services or a traditional travel agency, and be given invitation-only access to private-sale websites like Jetsetter.

Types of Typical Websites for Travel Reservation $50,000 – $124,999 (%) $125,000 – $249,999 (%) $250,000 or more (%)
An online travel agency such as Expedia, Travelocity or Orbitz 59 57 51
A brand travel service supplier site such as American Airlines, Hilton or Hertz 42 50 56
A comparison shopping site such as Kayak or Dealbas 28 27 22
A traditional travel agent 7 4 10
A collective-buying website such as LivingSocial Escapes that allows multiple peopl to book the same deals/packsges at the same time 6 7 4
American Express Travel Services 4 5 14
A private-sale website such as Jetsetter or Vacationist that provides invitation-only access to travel deals, discounts unavailable to the general public 4 3 6
Other 15 16 13
Photo Credit: A woman looks at her computer in Bryant Park. Ed Yourdon / Flickr