Online Hotel Bookings Shift from Travel Agencies to Supplier Sites

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Marketing VOX

Supplier websites account for 72 percent of online hotel spend as of Q1 2008, a three percentage-point increase in dollar share from the previous year, according to a comScore study of the online travel industry, reports MarketingCharts.

As a result, hotel market share through online travel agency sites (e.g., Expedia and Orbitz) is now 28 percent, 3 points down from a year ago.

Among supplier sites, Hilton had the largest dollar share (18.8 percent) in the first quarter, whereas among agency sites Expedia had the largest share (9.1 percent).

comscore-online-hotel-bookings-share-supplier-vs-agency-sites-1q08.jpg

The increase in dollar share among supplier sites is being driven by several economy brands, such as Best Western (up 1.2 points) and Choice Hotels (up 0.6 points).

Marriott, which includes both economy and premium brands, experienced the most significant increase: 1.3 points.

“The current economy has many consumers and business travelers tightening their belts, and the travel industry is certainly feeling the impact,” said Kevin Levitt, comScore vice-president.

Economy Brands Increase Paid Search Ads

As a result of current economic conditions, some hotel groups are shifting their online ad dollars away from premium brands, comScore found.

comscore-online-hotel-paid-link-exposures-intercontinental-brands-1q08.jpg

For example, Intercontinental Hotels Group, which owns both premium and economy brands, increased its total number of paid search link exposures by 16 percent for Holiday Inn Express, while its premium brands, like Crowne Plaza (down 41 percent) and Intercontinental (down 26 percent), reduced exposures.

“With consumers shifting their spending toward lower-cost alternatives, it makes sense that marketers would be shifting their ad spending accordingly to achieve better marketing ROI,” added Levitt.

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