THE spectacular growth of Australian online accommodation bookings showed no signs of slowing over the past year with the Internet moving into the mainstream as the sector’s major distribution channel. Major suppliers and owners say the Internet provides more than 20% of overall business – an increasing proportion of it direct – while big online distributors such as Australian Online Travel also report excellent growth over the past 12 months.

But there are variations – Shannon Knapp from Mirvac said some properties can sell 40% of rooms through the web while others do less than 10%.  James Merchant, Director of Revenue, Pacific Region, Accor AP, said the company is doing 25% of its local business online, compared with around 14% a year ago. More consumers are now booking direct with the property they are staying in and Merchant said direct internet bookings are its highest yielding channel. Travel Trends: April 22, 2008

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