The State Of Online Travel Agencies

The online travel market is expected to grow 18% in 2022 to $76.7 billion, a…

The online travel market is expected to grow 18% in 2022 to $76.7 billion, a figure just shy of 2019 gross bookings, new research from Phocuswright reveals.

According to the U.S. Online Travel Agency Market Report 2021-2025, OTA gross bookings are on track to surpass pre-pandemic levels in 2023, though international travel will continue to recover slower than domestic.

For 2021, OTAs delivered $65.2 in gross bookings, reaching 82% of pre-pandemic levels. Overall, OTAs accounted for 24% of gross bookings in the United States in 2021, up from a 20% share in 2020.

Phocuswright’s research reveals that for the U.S. core OTA business (excluding Vrbo and Egencia), Expedia and Booking collectively accounted for roughly 93% of the OTA leisure and unmanaged travel business market in 2021.

Globally, Expedia reported gross bookings of 67% and Booking 79% compared to 2019 levels. Compared to 2020, Expedia nearly doubled its global gross bookings in 2021, while Booking more than doubled its 2020 figure.

Elsewhere, smaller OTAs including CheaOair, Hopper and HotelTonight collectively rose 60% in 2021 from 2020.

OTA vs. supplier-direct

In 2021, OTAs regained share of the total online market, rising from 35% to 37%. However, supplier websites maintained their majority stake in the U.S. online travel market, with a 63% share of online gross bookings.

The hotel segment remains the only one where OTAs continue to outrun supplier websites, though not by much. In 2021, OTAs accounted for 52% of the hotel online market, but share is expected to decline to 48% in 2025.

For air and car rentals, though supplier websites are the preferred booking channel, OTAs gained share in both segments, with online air gross bookings capturing 20% in 2021 compared to 19% in 2020, and car rentals at 35%, up from 32% in 2020.

Mobile

According to Phocuswright, mobile has been a pandemic-era winner, promoting safer and seamless travel, and OTAs are paying more attention to their apps.

In 2021, the majority of Booking’s mobile room nights transacted through its app, while competitor Expedia has expressed its intentions of becoming an app-first company.

Beyond one-time booking interactions, OTAs are viewing apps as a way to foster customer retention and ongoing engagement.

More than half (51%) of OTA gross bookings were transacted via mobile in 2021, 10% more than pre-pandemic mobile share.

“Mobile will continue to gain share in the years to come as OTAs enhance and invest in their mobile product, though at a slower rate than at the pandemic’s onset,” the Phocuswright report states.

“As travel normalizes, desktop will recapture some share lost to mobile since the customer and product mix will be better aligned to desktop bookings (e.g., more international travel, longer trips and air travel).”

For additional insights on the OTA market, download the full study here.

ABOUT PHOCUSWRIGHT INC.

Phocuswright is the travel industry research authority on how travelers, suppliers and intermediaries connect. Independent, rigorous and unbiased, Phocuswright fosters smart strategic planning, tactical decision-making and organizational effectiveness.

Phocuswright delivers qualitative and quantitative research on the evolving dynamics that influence travel, tourism and hospitality distribution. Our marketplace intelligence is the industry standard for segmentation, sizing, forecasting, trends, analysis and consumer travel planning behavior. Every day around the world, senior executives, marketers, strategists and research professionals from all segments of the industry value chain use Phocuswright research for competitive advantage.

To complement its primary research in North and Latin America, Europe and Asia, Phocuswright produces several high-profile conferences in the United States and Europe, and partners with conferences in China, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates. Industry leaders and company analysts bring this intelligence to life by debating issues, sharing ideas and defining the ever-evolving reality of travel commerce.

The company is headquartered in the United States with Asia Pacific operations based in India and local analysts on five continents.

Phocuswright is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Northstar Travel Media, LLC. (116 32nd Street, 14th Floor, New York, NY 10001 United States). www.phocuswright.com

ABOUT NORTHSTAR TRAVEL GROUP

Northstar Travel Group is the leading provider of business-to-business news, information, data, transactions and custom content solutions for the travel, meetings and hospitality industries. Brands under the Northstar umbrella include Travel Weekly, Travel Weekly China, Travel Weekly Asia, TravelAge West, Business Travel News, Phocuswright, Meetings & Conventions, M&C China, Web in Travel and Inntopia. Northstar is the industry leader in marketing solutions, custom content communications, content licensing and database management serving the travel and meetings industries. The company produces more than 52 face-to-face events, taking place in North and South America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Northstar is based in Secaucus, NJ, and is a portfolio company of EagleTree Capital. www.northstartravelgroup.com