Booking.com Hard on Wotif’s Heels

Booking.com has increased its Australian online market share by 70% in just under 12 months and is now challenging Wotif and TripAdvisor for the top spot in the Experian Hitwise web rankings for the Destinations and Accommodation category. Wotif’s market share has dropped 12% over the same period. The market share of Booking.com is now 5.81% compared with 3.41% last April. Wotif is at 6.15%, down from 7.01% over the same period.

TripAdvisor Australia continues growing share, recording 6.04% visits for the sector in the most recent results, for the week ending April 21. This means top spot is narrowly held by Wotif.com followed by TripAdvisor and then Booking.com. But can it last? Present trends suggest the market share momentum is most definitely with Booking.com, though it is conversions that count.

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8 thoughts on “Booking.com Hard on Wotif’s Heels”

  1. I’m not doubting for a second that Booking.com is closing the gap on Wotif. Booking – much bigger o/s hotel choice thus an obvious big winner due to increased overseas travel courtesy of a record-high AUD. No argument there

    But really, quoting Hitwise market share reports as (ahem) accurate data??? Not exactly comparing UBs, visits, booking volumes or TTV data is it? Just saying.

    Go check something like Google Adplanner and tell me if you still really think Booking’s up 70% over the past 12 months. I remain a sceptic.

      1. Martin, good question. Hitwise and Google Adplanner both use different statistical data sources and methodologies so it’s entirely possible that one provides more accurate data than the other. Personally I feel Adplanner has the more credible data about website traffic and thus “share”. (I reached that conclusion after being paid to analyse Adplanner & Hitwise & other similar tools for a big well-known web company. I assessed data validity against known internal server data such as server logs, analytics etc.) Adplanner won convincingly. That’s why I rely on it.

        Google Adplanner publishes a “Reach” statistic. It’s the closest equivalent to Hitwise Market Share in my opinion. Hitwise and Google are showing very different data for “share”.

        Hitwise’s market share – 5.83% (Booking), 6.04% (TripAdvisor) and 6.15% (Wotif).

        Google Adplanner’s “Reach” – 3.5% (Booking), 1.2% (TripAdvisor) and 5.7% (Wotif).

        Bit of a difference, no? If you look at Adplanner’s published website traffic statistics, you will also see Wotif is still, by far, the biggest traffic player. It outperforms its competitors on every traffic metric.

        So yes. In my humblest of opinions, these Hitwise statistics have nil credibility. I know you’re a journo, Martin, do us proud with a bit more probing of those stats!

        I agree entirely with your overall blog headline. Booking is a great site and Wotif should be pulling all 10 fingers out rather hastily. My reason for commenting is I think it’s necessary to challenge the info that you’ve published here. Someone needs to – and not a crony for any of those sites.

        Caveat: I don’t work for any of the sites listed – I work for myself and not even in the travel category.

        1. Thanks for the analysis and explanation Tim. I’ll look into it further. I’d be most interested to see gains/losses over the past 12 months.

  2. As a hotel operator we’ve seen reservations from Booking.com continue to exceed those from Wotif for some time now. I’m not surprised given that they both offer the same rates, yet Wotif makes guests pay a booking fee.

    Wotif has benefited from being one of the first to the market in our region, and from a historic perception that they offer discounted rates. Of course that is no longer true, and now that sites like Booking.com offer the same rates and no booking fee, why would you book through Wotif?

  3. I second what Chris has said.

    It’s in the technology that Booking.com sustains a competitive advantage. Consumers wouldn’t admit it themselves, but as technology enhances travel, it allows consumers to become more reliant on someone or something to ‘choose for me’. Not gone, but slowly fading away are the days that consumers want to look at travel ‘excel spreadsheet’ of prices and hotel names listed alphabetically. In saying that, I’m sure ‘Amora Jamison’ is still doing very well from Wotif.com. Down here in the XYZ arena, I can’t say the same.

    Aren’t 2012 consumers more deserving of an algorithmic search than mere alphabetization to help them choose suitable accommodation?

    I also draw the point from what I’ve said above, that different hotels receive large discrepancies in room nights from both of these channels. How is general statistic from Hitwise or Adplanner reliable ‘decision-making’ data? It might be interesting to go deeper than these two statistic oriented organizations. Surely a hypothesis test would provide more credible data. Measuring discrepancies between the two along with a multi-variate test including variables such as ‘first letter of hotel name’, star rating and pricing.

  4. Dion and Chis, congrats to you – you’re both higher-than-normal achievers on Booking.com then. Perhaps you’re getting more international inbound reservations from Booking.com than Wotif? Booking.com is massive globally – but not within a whisker’s hair of being #1 in Australia. Wotif is at least 60% higher than Booking.com for the AU traffic market. I see no evidence to counter otherwise.

    I agree the Wotif interface is a bit tired but most AU internet travellers are still choosing it as their #1 hotel site. Hopefully Wotif isn’t full of hubris and gets off its bum and innovates. Will be interesting to see their Stayz competitor in action.

    OK gents, nice chatting. Ciao.

  5. I respectfully disagree with you Tim, all of our properties paint a very different picture to that of which you are suggesting. Qualified booking data speaks with a more credible tone as evidence of what statistics merely try to predict or indicate.

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