Travellers want to book through OTAs, spend more and stay longer – study

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Half of UK travellers intend to book via an online travel agency (OTA) after COVID-19 with domestic travellers leading the way by staying longer, and spending more on hotel accommodations and on-property paid-for services when compared to direct hotel bookers, according to a new Expedia Group study in partnership with global research firm BVA BDRC.

The study, which examines the contributions of OTAs to the United Kingdom travel and tourism sector, the spending patterns of their travellers, and the role of OTAs in the hotel booking process, points to the increasing importance of OTA travellers to propel the economic recovery of the UK travel industry.

The UK travel industry is primed for a speedier return to normal compared to other business sectors and as the industry awaits the full return of international travel, the current hotel reopening date of May 17 marks a positive step for travel businesses. Expedia Group research shows that OTAs are a critical channel for attracting domestic travellers and as the UK market rebuilds its tourism industry, OTA travellers will make a vital contribution.

The data shows that:

Domestic OTA bookers spend more than twice as much on hotel accommodation as direct bookers. 71% of domestic hotel direct bookers use an OTA to research their hotel. ​
​Domestic OTA bookers stay an average of one more night than direct bookers. Domestic OTA hotel bookers are more likely than direct hotel bookers to use several on-property paid-for services including room service and hotel dining offerings.

“Despite traditional perceptions of OTA travellers being bargain hunters, this research demonstrates they are a higher spending audience,” said Orla Lee Vice President, market management, Expedia Group. “The ability to search for multiple travel products on a single platform and compare multiple properties in the same location are as powerful motivators as finding the best room rate when they are searching for and booking holidays.”

Beyond domestic travellers, the study also uncovered additional insights into emerging traveller behaviours driven by the pandemic.

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