Breaking Travel News

Spanish Online Travel Holds Its Own in The Midst of Recession

Spanish Online Travel Holds Its Own in The Midst of Recession

As one of the premier leisure travel destinations in Europe, Spain’s economy suffered from the decline of both inbound and domestic travel amidst the global recession. The overall travel market fell 12% in 2009 according to PhoCusWright’s Spanish Online Travel Overview Fifth Edition. Online travel sales, however, declined by only 1%, which is somewhat surprising for a market that remains well below the European average for online travel penetration. The decline was driven by supplier Web sites, while online travel agencies (OTAs) saw gains in bookings and market share.

“While all travel segments contributed to the total market’s decline, each travel industry vertical has experienced varying levels of consumer pullback,” says Carroll Rheem, PhoCusWright director, research. “Car rental and hotel companies, particularly in Spanish cities like Madrid and Barcelona, have experienced some of the sharpest declines.”

The Spanish Online Travel Overview forecasts each industry sector:

Airlines—both traditional and low-cost carriers (LCCs)—declined in 2009 due to demand falloff and competition with high-speed domestic rail travel. In many European markets, LCCs gained share against traditional carriers with consumers so focused on price, but the Spanish airline sector presents an exception.

The Spanish hotel industry is facing its worst decline in decades, falling by 7% in 2008 and a 9% in 2009. The volume of international visitors, particularly from the U.K., has fallen off dramatically and domestic tourism has suffered along with the local economy. Overcapacity exacerbated the issue, with new properties coming to market in 2008, increasing rooms supply by 3%.


Online Travel Agencies
OTAs have not suffered as much as their offline equivalents. Revenues remained relatively stable at a growth rate of 2.7%. Packaging is an increasingly important and lucrative product for OTAs. OTAs have evolved over the past three years by introducing dynamic packaging tools, but several offer white-label solutions from selected tour operators as well.

Online travel agencies represent a bright spot in the currently bleak Spanish travel landscape. The largest companies, eDreams and Rumbo, are both Spanish and they lead the market by a wide margin. This is unusual among the large European travel markets, where global and pan-European players often dominate. Get a competitive edge with this insightful market intelligence and learn when recovery will come to Spain.

PhoCusWright’s Spanish Online Travel Overview Fifth Edition delivers a detailed and actionable forecast for the Spanish travel market. Order today.

The report is a subset of PhoCusWright’s European Online Travel Overview Fifth Edition. Electronic market data and individual market reports are also available (France, Germany, Italy, Scandinavia, Spain, and the U.K.

Register today for PhoCusWright’s Global Online Travel Overview—An Online Event (February 3, 2010). Expert analysts will forecast the U.S., Europe and Asia Pacific (APAC) share of the global online travel market through 2011.

Global and European Edition seatholders have immediate access to the reports listed above as well as free registration for the February 3 Online Event via the My Subscription page of