Fight For Market Share On As Web Growth Slows

OTA traffic graph to July 2011The fight for market share among Online Travel Agents is well and truly on with traffic to the sector falling -4% in the 12 months to the end of July, according to Nielsen NetRatings. Director of Digital Insights, Mark Higginson, said OTAs were the worst performed travel sub-sector. He said cruise grew fastest off a  low base, airlines were up 7%, while hotels grew 5%, which may possibly indicate they are taking share from OTAs. Overall, Higginson said the travel sector grew 7%.

Qantas is still the leading online travel brand with an average of more than 2m unique visitors each month, followed by Virgin, Wotif.com, TripAdvisor and Jetstar. TripAdvisor grew 15%, according to Nielsen Netview, while unique visitor numbers to Wiotif.com fell 10%. Higginson said TotalTravel, owned by Yahoo!7, has bounced back after visitations were heavily hit by a site relaunch in mid-2010 with a 38% increase in unique traffic over the past year.

Advertising is having a major impact on TotalTravel’s traffic growth with a close correlation between the number of visits and the amount of marketing activity. OTA Best Flights, which acts as the TotalTravel.com booking engine, has also seen a corresponding visitor boost.

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