The percentage of global hotel bookings made online for the first quarter of 2007 was almost double that of the same period last year, research showed today.

Online booking agent Travelclick revealed that internet bookings accounted for 41.2% of total Central Reservation System (CRS) bookings in major hotels chains throughout the world, up from 21.9% in 2006.

Reservation requests from third parties such as booking agents and travel agents accounted for 35.7% of total bookings while telephone reservations declined by 4.8% year on year to 23.1%.

The total CRS bookings for major hotel brands increased 6.9% in Q1 2007. One third of all bookings during the first quarter of 2007 came through hotels’ own websites.

Jeff Bzdawka, chief operating officer at Travelclick, said: “Hotels are getting better at ensuring that rate parity exists and that the hotel’s website lives up to its best rate guarantee.

“In conjunction with more aggressive internet marketing, the industry also continues to drive business direct, increasing overall profitability.”

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By Christopher Walton

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