Global hotel chains picked up more bookings from the internet than from travel agents for the first time in 2005, according to electronic marketing firm TravelClick.
Its survey of bookings at the central reservation offices (CRO) of 30 international hotel brands found that 35.2% came from the internet, up from 30% in 2004.
And hotels' own websites accounted for the lion's share (three-quarters) of these bookings.
Global distribution systems (GDS) run by travel agents and airlines accounted for 34.6% of CRO bookings. Call centres accounted for 30.2%. Both channels have seen their market share drop (from 35.7% and 34.4% respectively) since 2004.
"While hotels recognise the key role of the GDS and third-party online agencies, they will continue to look for ways to drive business through their proprietary channels," said Robert Post, president and chief executive of TravelClick.
"But because of its highly effective target marketing, we expect the GDS to maintain its 30-plus per cent share of bookings over the next two years, while voice reservations continue to decline because of the increasing preference of consumers to book electronically."
By Angela Frewin
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