Major Hotel Chains Grew Internet Reservations by 34% in 2003

  TravelCLICK
  today released full-year results
from
the company’s 2003 eTRAK report, demonstrating that Internet reservations
received at the central reservation offices (CROs) of the major hotel
brands
grew 34% in 2003 versus 2002. The report noted that brand Web sites were
the
source of 66% of the brands’ centrally booked Internet reservations.

eTRAK is a quarterly benchmarking report that allows hotel chains to track
booking trends on the Internet and GDS. The 2003 eTRAK report highlights
the
continued dramatic growth of electronic hotel bookings and the continuing
importance of GDS e-commerce for hotel brands and chains. Despite the
impressive growth of the Internet, eTRAK shows that 35% of CRO
reservations
come through GDS channels, while Internet sites contribute 27%.

Results from this study may differ from overall hospitality industry
trends
on the Internet and GDS because eTRAK reflects only the performance of 30
major brands.  The conclusions, however, are directional for the industry
as
a whole.

“Electronic channels represent the primary source of CRO bookings today,
and
will be even more dominant in the near future” said Ray Cohen, president
and
co-CEO for TravelCLICK. “Though the Internet channel continues to
organically grow at a double-digit rate, hotels still need to focus on the
GDSs to ensure that they are maximizing ADR and occupancy.”

The 30 major brands participating in this survey reported that, on
average,
18% percent of their CRO reservations were received from their brand Web
site in 2003 (i.e. marriott.com, hilton.com, etc.), while 6% of CRO
reservations were sourced from third party Internet sites.  A bit more
than
one third, or 37%, of CRO reservations were made via phone.

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The top ten third-party websites for hotel bookings to brand CROs were, in
order: Priceline, Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, Hotwire, TravelNow, USA
Hotelguide, Lodging, Worldres and Southwest.  Some well-known third party
web distributors, such as Hotels.com, did not place in the top ten on this list because such sites typically obtain rates and inventory directly from
individual properties rather than from a brand CRO.

The eTRAK report covers all central reservation office booking results
including GDS, voice, and Internet bookings. The report allows subscribers
to compare their own performance versus their direct competitors, and the
industry in general. The unique information contained in eTRAK is intended
to help hotel companies decide e-commerce priorities, such as where to
invest their Internet advertising dollars and which sites create the best
returns.
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