Expedia used to be seen as a major threat to travel agents but PhoCusWright’s recent study (U.S. Online Travel Overview, 13th Edition – LINK) observed that supplier websites are actually the main competition. In 2012, 64% of online sales took place on supplier websites and only 36% took place on OTAs – and the number of sales on supplier sites is expected to increase to 66% by 2015.
PhoCusWright believes the increase is mainly due to improved supplier websites that improve a customer’s experience and encourage them to complete the transaction. Supplier sites frequently add reviews, maps, destination information, additional functionality, etc. This is especially noticeable in the airline industry with 73% of carriers’ 2012 sales coming from supplier websites and this number is expected to increase by 3% by the end of 2013. The study also found that bookings will continue to grow, with an approx. increase of 6% until 2015.
The next booking channel for travel companies to implement is mobile booking and mobile apps. Mobile bookings doubled in 2012 and are expected to double yet again this year. PhoCusWright anticipates that in 2015, a quarter of bookings will be made via mobile devices.