Tour operators

OTAs ahead of hotels and airlines in online engagement as mobile comes into play

Posted by Ben Irelandon
OTAs ahead of hotels and airlines in online engagement as mobile comes into play

Online Travel Agencies are leading hotels and airlines when it comes to online engagement, particularly with regards to mobile traffic, according to new research.

Clickstream data gathered by Jumpshot from more than a quarter of a million travel purchases and EyeforTravel consumer surveys, OTAs are winning more bookings than travel suppliers by a noticeable margin.

In the UK, Germany 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 research revealed that OTAs controlled 46.5% and 47.1% of the bookings made on web browsers across all devices in the two countries.

Even when consumers finished their purchase on a hotel or airline site, they were more likely to have visited an OTA site along the way than a hotel or airline site. For example, 33% of German consumers who bought a flight through an airline also visited an OTA along the way but just 13% also went via a competitor airline brand.

The data also found that traffic is increasingly heading towards mobile, where OTAs in Brazil, Germany, India, the UK and US have higher conversion rates than airline or hotel brands.

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Alex Hadwick, head of research at EyeforTravel, said: “Mobile optimization 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. Secondly, search engines are also becoming more mobile-focused in how they rank sites. This is especially important as 9 out of 10 consumers visit a search engine in the final 15 sites before purchase, according to this research.”

The research, published in EyeforTravel and Jumpshot’s Understanding the Travel Consumer’s Path to Purchase white paper, tracked more than a quarter of a million travel purchasers across five countries through clickstream data and consumer surveys to build a picture of the path to purchase. The white paper aim to detail the how, where and why of the decisions people make before they book, and identifies what travel brands should be doing to capture market share.

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