Peak booking period data from Hitwise has underlined the growing popularity of peer to peer accommodation site Airbnb, the travel site most reliant on social media for clicks.
The travel insights firm found overall the sharing economy was the fastest-growing segment in travel in the key three week period from Boxing Day when travel firms traditional see high volumes of inquiries and sales.
In contract, Hitwise recorded healthy but stabilising growth for online hotel aggregators. This sector saw a 13% rise in visitor numbers over the same period last year down from 59% the previous year.
This came as growth in visits to hotel websites direct saw a slowdown, rising just 3% over the three week period following last year’s rise of 5%.
However, Airbnb’s rise dwarfed all others with a 90% year-on-year increase for the early January peak season, equating to just over six million visits during the three weeks.
Hitwise also looked at audience segments and found older people are increasingly using aggregators and the likes of Airbnb, previously more the preserve of younger browsers.
Hotel aggregators typically attract a younger audience compared to hotel direct (33% versus 28% aged 18-34), however, older audiences are growing with the 45-plus segment up 21% year on year.
Compared to aggregators and hotel direct, Airbnb attracts the youngest audience (38% aged 18-34). But it saw a significant 135% growth in people aged 45-plus.