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Hotels and Airlines Losing Mobile Battle to OTAs

According to the Travel Demographics Report Series published by Strategy Analytics Travel Analytics service, those under 35 years old severely under-index in airline and hotel app usage but over-index on OTAs.
Those under 25 are either not traveling or not involved in the travel booking process. Encouragingly for the industry those between 26 – 35 over-index on travel apps. However, much of this usage is focused on local travel apps or OTAs. While a boon for OTAs, this scenario poses a big challenge for hotels and airlines.
Online Travel Agents excel in commoditizing travel costs while democratizing the selection process for users. For hotels and airlines that seek to generate loyal customers the wave of lowest price shoppers – those up to 35 years old – must be concerning. Not only do these groups over-index on OTA usage but they severely under-index sometimes more than 7% for hotels and airlines.
The big question that must be asked is – is the reliance on OTAs a result of life stage – or a broader market transition? If the latter, airlines and hotels will be hard pressed to pay off the investments they are making to woo millennials.
According to Joshua Martin, Travel Analytics Research Service Director, "As new technology such as Apple Pay makes booking travel on mobile devices easier – new threats to established players emerge. If younger travelers become loyal to their OTA in lieu of an airline or hotel it makes securing regular and repeat customers difficult. While hotels and airlines are performing well with those 36+ as a new generation comes of age the companies must keep innovating to remain unique. The continued focus on new technology and features are an important first step to achieving this goal."
Barry Gilbert, Vice President of New Ventures added, "Mobile devices are becoming increasingly relied upon for activities once restricted to the PC. I expect travel to be greatly impacted by this trend and the data in these reports demonstrate that airlines and hotels need to reevaluate their mobile strategies."
The report series – which analyzes the demographic makeup of hotel, OTA and airline app owners/users is now available.
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