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Jul 28, 2017,  by Allianz Partners Business Insights

Tourism: The online travel industry is booming

A recent study carried out by Phocus Forward showed that the online travel industry has a great impact on the tourist industry. From flight bookings to accommodation, the market is evolving and must adapt to new technologies.



It is a logical evolution that seems to be stopped by nothing: digitalisation has invaded all sectors, even tourism. This powerful global industry is becoming ever more influenced by digitalisation, in particular with online bookings.

Phocus Forward, in collaboration with Expedia Affiliate Networking, recently published their 2017 report on "The Year Ahead in Digital Travel", in which they analyse the changes observed in the online travel industry, as reported on the website Tom Travel.


1,182 billion euros in turnover


In 2016, the tourist industry recorded turnover of 1,182 billion euros, mainly generated by the United States and Europe. But the Asia-Pacific region is rapidly expanding and might well be a game-changer.

At the end of 2017, it is estimated that this region will generate 37% of the world's turnover for online travel reservations, says the website.

Though the rise in online sales has slowed down in recent years, half of all European flight reservations will be made online by the end of 2017, according to the study's projections. Online growth has forced airlines to adopt a more competitive pricing policy.


Rapidly-expanding online travel agencies


This change is also due to OTAs (Online Travel Agencies): in the United States, this year for the first time, OTAs have overtaken supplier websites. Namely "thanks to the amount they spend on marketing, their mobile development and even the millennials' preference for online intermediaries. Hotel reservations, meanwhile, still tend to be made 'offline'," says Tom Travel.


Airbnb is also transforming the sector: in the United States, bookings made via the website could represent as much as 18% of all accommodation bookings in 2017.


A boom in comparison websites


Another evolution is the rise in comparative websites such as TripAdvisor who have branched out into bookings. And Google is now dipping its toe into the holiday planning and purchase experience with its new tool for flights and hotels, as well as applications such as Destinations and Trips.

Finally, bookings made via smartphone are slowly gaining ground, but desktop computers are still the most often used for online reservations. The development of voice searches and artificial intelligence might move things forward.

The last finding of the study: China might soon become the world leader for online travel thanks to its network of applications and its mobile consumers.


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