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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : June 10, 2012

OTAs used for holiday research but budget-conscious Brits prefer to book direct

The UK may be in the midst of another recession but that isn't dampening plans for taking a vacation, according Kantar Media Compete's Online Shopper Intelligence Report. Many British travelers are choosing to book direct rather than use online travel agents.

by Helen Leggatt

kantar media logo.jpgEven the state of the economy isn't putting British adults off planning a holiday this year. A whopping 90% are planning to take a vacation in 2012, up from 82% who took a trip last year.

Nearly three-quarters (72%) of those holidaying abroad and half of those traveling around the UK visited online travel agents (OTA) such as and Expedia to research the trip.

However, many don't book via an OTA. Keeping the cost of holidaying down is the main reason many are using airline and hotel websites to book their trip direct, rather than using an online travel agent (OTA). Other reasons cited for booking direct were speed, accuracy, choice and ease of booking.

Kantar Media Compete's research found that almost two-thirds (65%) of airline travelers bought tickets direct from an airline compared with 31% using an OTA. Just over a quarter (28%) of hotels were booked direct.

It's no surprise, then, to learn that budget airlines and accommodation were among the most popular websites in the UK. Almost half (49%) of the population of the UK visited EasyJet's website while Travelodge and Premier Inn were the most popular hotel websites with 54% and 52% of unique visitors respectively. Luxury accommodation, such as Hilton and Marriott saw just 10% each.

"One issue clearly flagged up by the report is that OTAs would benefit from taking a closer look at the needs of their audience and how they can meet them," said John Thekanady, Client Services Director, Kantar Media Compete. "This is particularly pertinent in view of the high reach of EasyJet that, with hire cars, hotels, package breaks, etc, is fulfilling the role of an OTA."

Tags: holiday planning, holiday shopper, online shopping, online travel agent, travel market, vacation

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