New research from PhoCusWright based on traffic figures supplied by comScore suggests a lack of loyalty among Webjet customers who use Australia’s most popular travel agency site as an airfare search engine. “Webjet may face a higher incidence of cross-shopping with competitive sites and a greater risk of losing customers – who are clearly comparing fares across multiple sites – to airlines directly. Wotif visitors are also shopping other sites, but in smaller numbers,” the report said.
Qantas was by far the biggest recipient of Webjet traffic (45%) followed by Virgin Australia (35%), Jetstar (30%) and Tiger Airways (19%). Rather than suppliers, “Wotif visitors were much more likely to visit other Online Travel Agents like Stayz, Lastminute.com.au, Expedia and Booking.com”.
The report said Wotif is now getting more traffic direct to the website rather than through intermediaries such as Google, media and competitive online intermediary sites.
“While over a third of Wotif.com traffic was referred from search engines, traffic volume from search fell 30% in December 2010.
“This suggests a decreasing dependence on search engines in the travel shopping process. “
“Social networking websites, led by Facebook, were the third highest contributor of traffic to Wotif – up 26% year on year.
“Even though this illustrates a rising interest in social networks, the category accounted for just 5% of Wotif’s total source traffic.”
Other report findings:
Hotel websites have few visitors. Hotel websites in Australia attract relatively little traffic. In the fourth quarter of monthly unique visitors to the category amounted to 20% of those visiting OTAs.
Wisdom of the crowd and media are strong influencers. Internet shoppers in Australia flooded media and traveler review websites, revealing a strong tendency to conduct destination and hotel research while shopping online.
Metasearch is still waiting to take off. Unlike other mature online markets such as the US and Europe where metasearch websites have gained popularity, the segment has struggled to make its mark in Australia. Limited domestic air content, coupled with a strong presence of local (and some global) OTAs, has inhibited the growth of metasearch in the country.”