Brexit. Trump. Terror. Amidst all the remarkable headlines, here’s one nugget you might have missed last year: 2016 was the last year in which offline transactions accounted for a majority of European travel bookings.
But despite the continuing importance of traditional travel agencies in several countries, European travelers are increasingly using online channels — including mobile devices — to book their trips, and the offline share will slip steadily in the years to come.
“There’s no doubt that traditional travel agents and tour operators still represent a key distribution channel in Europe, particularly in markets such as Italy and Spain,” says David Juman, Phocuswright director, research and editorial. “But it’s getting tougher for them to compete, as online platforms offered by suppliers and powerhouse intermediaries like Booking.com and Expedia become ever more sophisticated, and consumers grow more comfortable researching and purchasing travel products with their smartphones.”
According to the report, by 2020, the offline share of travel bookings will slip to 42%, while both OTA and online supplier bookings will gain significant market share. Online direct bookings will advance most dramatically, as suppliers across all segments and markets intensify their efforts to attract consumers directly, through loyalty programs, robust mobile offerings, deals and other incentives.