Farewell Webjet. Adios Wotif.

Not quite, just joking, but they are no longer top of the heap. Booking.com is now Australia’s biggest and fast-fastest growing online travel agent, leaving local rivals well behind with more than 5.3m visits a month.

The US-owned website surged to come in at #4 in the 2013 edition of the Hottest 100 Australian travel sites from Experian Hitwise and TravelTrends.biz (see below).

It was a surprise result. Booking.com has been closing on the pack for the last couple of years – spending big but smart on search – however, the #1 OTA ranking result has come sooner than expected.

The Hottest 100 is being used to help source sites for the TRAVELtech GlobalCollect Web Awards, the winner of which will be announced at the second day of TRAVELtech on September 13.

It’s based on web visits and market share in the 12 months to the end of July, and showed a tightening but still growing market place where the top 30 sites all get more than one million visits each month.

To get in the top ten, a minimum four million monthly visits were required, while entry to the Top 100 needed 290k visits, 50% more than two years ago.

Once again Google Maps with 33m monthly visits was by far and away the #1 site, well ahead of Tripdvisor.com (9m), closely followed by Qantas.

Then Booking.com – now the highest-ever ranked OTA.

The out-performance of Booking.com also goes some way to explaining the recent flat performance of the local incumbents, Wotif and Webjet.

Webjet and Wotif were #7 and #8 respectively in the 2013 Hottest 100, about where they traditionally sit, but well ahead of any other OTA – until now of course.

This year the dynamic between the long-term Australian rivals has changed with Webjet now marginally but consistently in front of Wotif after more than a decade of chasing its local competitor.

But really there’s nothing in it. The Experian Hitwise stats show that in the 12 months to July Webjet and Wotif both averaged just over 4.2m visits a month (about one million less than Booking.com).

Still on OTAs, the Agoda brand – which like its Priceline stablemate Booking.com, is performing very strongly with both its .com and .com.au domains in the top 20.

Combined they would have ranked in the top 10 with more than 4m visits a month.

Another interesting result was Virgin Australia slipping down the rankings from #5 to  #10 despite all the publicity surrounding its revamp.

You’d think they’d be stronger.

What’s happening there?

Jetstar assumed Virgin’s former position at #5. Its mobile site was also highly ranked at #63.

Other big names in the top echelon were Expedia, Flight Centre, Stayz, Lastminute.com.au, Tiger Airways, AirAsia, Hotels.com and Emirates.

One noticeable trend is that many of the fast-growing large sites were in airfare search sector: Skyscanner, flightradar24, BYOjet, Wego, CheapOair, cheapflights, FareCompare.

There was also plenty of action for Australia’s two biggest hotel groups, Accor and Mantra, both of which did very well with strong increases in market share.

That’s probably because they are competing more aggressively with the OTAs for their share of direct bookings.

Tours and activities website Viator, too, outperformed the market, while retailer STA Travel bounced nicely.

On the media front both News.com.au/travel and Totaltravel.com, owned by Yahoo!7,  ranked highly but former top performer Ninemsn Travel was nowhere to be seen.

Among the larger sites that lost significant market share in the past year were Zuji (-40% year on year), now owned by Webjet, and HotelClub (-39%), which was recently relaunched.

The market share of Jetabroad (-54%) and BestFlights (-30%) appear to be under pressure from the new airfare sites, while a strange omission was Tourism Australia’s site, Australia.com.

Please note: A website can lose market share but still gain visitor numbers.

HOTTEST 100 TRAVEL WEBSITES

  1. Google Maps Australia maps.google.com.au
  2. TripAdvisor – Australia www.tripadvisor.com.au
  3. Qantas www.qantas.com.au
  4. Booking.com www.booking.com
  5. Jetstar www.jetstar.com
  6. Google Maps maps.google.com
  7. Webjet Australia www.webjet.com.au
  8. Wotif.com www.wotif.com
  9. Whereis.com www.whereis.com
  10. Virgin Australia www.virginaustralia.com
  11. Expedia Australia www.expedia.com.au
  12. Public Transport Victoria www.ptv.vic.gov.au
  13. TripAdvisor www.tripadvisor.com
  14. Flight Centre www.flightcentre.com.au
  15. Agoda.com www.agoda.com
  16. Transport Infoline www.131500.com.au
  17. Stayz www.stayz.com.au
  18. Qantas – Frequent Flyer www.qantasfrequentflyer.com.au
  19. Agoda Australia www.agoda.com.au
  20. Lastminute.com.au www.lastminute.com.au
  21. Tiger Airways www.tigerairways.com
  22. Viator www.viator.com
  23. TransLink www.translink.com.au
  24. AirAsia www.airasia.com
  25. News.com.au Travel www.news.com.au/travel
  26. Sydney Trains www.sydneytrains.info
  27. WeekendNotes www.weekendnotes.com
  28. Hotels.com www.hotels.com
  29. GoldCoast.com.au www.goldcoast.com.au
  30. Transperth www.transperth.wa.gov.au
  31. Emirates www.emirates.com
  32. Skyscanner Australia www.skyscanner.com.au
  33. Bing maps www.bing.com/maps
  34. Accor Hotels www.accorhotels.com
  35. Totaltravel.com www.totaltravel.com
  36. Best Flights www.bestflights.com.au
  37. Lonely Planet www.lonelyplanet.com
  38. Visit New South Wales www.visitnsw.com
  39. BYOjet www.byojet.com
  40. flightradar24.com www.flightradar24.com
  41. Hotels Combined www.hotelscombined.com
  42. Western Australian Department of Transport www.transport.wa.gov.au
  43. Knapsack Inn www.backpackers.com.tw
  44. Singapore Airlines www.singaporeair.com
  45. Cheap Flights Australia and New Zealand www.cheapflights.com.au
  46. Air New Zealand – Australia www.airnz.com.au
  47. Time Out Australia www.au.timeout.com
  48. au.edreams.com au.edreams.com
  49. STA Travel Australia www.statravel.com.au
  50. Metro Trains Melbourne www.metrotrains.com.au
  51. HotelClub www.hotelclub.com
  52. Ski.com.au www.ski.com.au
  53. Malaysia Airlines www.malaysiaairlines.com
  54. Perisher Blue Ski Resort www.perisherblue.com.au
  55. My NRMA www.mynrma.com.au
  56. Adelaide Metro www.adelaidemetro.com.au
  57. NSW Transport and Infrastructure www.transport.nsw.gov.au
  58. P&O Cruises Australia www.pocruises.com.au
  59. ABA Travel www.abatravel.com.au
  60. TravelDeluxeGuide www.traveldeluxeguide.com
  61. FareCompare www.farecompare.com
  62. Melbourne Airport www.melbourneairport.com.au
  63. Jetstar – Mobile mobile.jetstar.com
  64. StreetDirectory.com.au www.street-directory.com.au
  65. Getaway Lounge www.getawaylounge.com.au
  66. InterContinental Hotels Group www.ihg.com
  67. ExplorOz.com www.exploroz.com
  68. EscapeTravel www.escapetravel.com.au
  69. ZUJI Australia www.zuji.com
  70. Wego www.wego.com
  71. Princess Cruises www.princess.com
  72. Google Earth earth.google.com
  73. FlyScoot.com www.flyscoot.com
  74. Mantra Resorts www.mantra.com.au
  75. travel.com.au www.travel.com.au
  76. TripAdvisor UK www.tripadvisor.co.uk
  77. Discover Australia www.discoveraustralia.com.au
  78. Velocity Rewards www.velocityrewards.com.au
  79. Thredbo www.thredbo.com.au
  80. bookingbuddy www.bookingbuddy.com
  81. HostelWorld.com www.hostelworld.com
  82. Mt Buller Ski Resort www.mtbuller.com.au
  83. Jetabroad www.jetabroad.com
  84. Travelzoo Australia www.travelzoo.com/au
  85. Transurban CityLink www.citylink.com.au
  86. V/line www.vline.com.au
  87. Thrifty Car Rental Australia www.thrifty.com.au
  88. Cruise Away www.cruiseaway.com.au
  89. Budget Rent A Car Australia www.budget.com.au
  90. Travel Loop www.travelloop.com.au
  91. Sydney Airport www.sydneyairport.com.au
  92. Ozcruising www.ozcruising.com.au
  93. TakeABreak www.takeabreak.com.au
  94. Easy to Book www.easytobook.com
  95. CheapOair www.cheapoair.com
  96. I Want That Flight! www.iwantthatflight.com.au
  97. Sydney Buses www.sydneybuses.info
  98. Rent-A-Home www.rent-a-home.com.au
  99. Wikitravel wikitravel.org
  100. RentalCars.com www.rentalcars.com
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