TravelCLICK yesterday released its first half results from the company’s eTRAK report, demonstrating that Internet reservations received at the central reservation offices (CROs) of the major hotel brands grew 28% in the first half of 2004 versus the same time period in 2003. The report noted that brand websites were the source of 73% 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 Q1 and Q2 2004 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 36% of CRO reservations come through GDS channels, while Internet sites contribute 30%.
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 continue to represent the primary source of CRO bookings today, with both Internet and GDS reservations showing growth in the first half of 2004,” said Ray Cohen, president and co-CEO for TravelCLICK. “Over 66% of bookings into hotel CROs are now coming in electronically, as opposed to over the phone. This percentage will only increase in the years ahead.”
The 30 major brands participating in this survey reported that, on average, 22% percent of their CRO reservations were received from their brand website in the first half of 2004 (i.e. marriott.com, hilton.com, etc.), while 4% of CRO reservations were sourced from third party retail Internet sites and 3% from merchant sites. Slightly more than one-third, or 34%, of CRO reservations were made via phone.
The top ten third party websites for hotel bookings to brand CROs, in order, were: Priceline, Expedia Retail, Expedia Merchant, Travelocity Retail, Hotwire, Orbitz Retail, TravelNow, Travelocity Merchant, Orbitz Merchant and USA Hotelguide.