Online travel agencies (OTAs) operating in the European travel market find themselves in an interesting position in 2018. On the one hand, these intermediaries have been instrumental in the maturation of the region’s online travel marketplace, and the key players in the category are household names among European travelers. But increasingly, the landscape has shrunk to the point where, in the battle for OTA bookings, just one or two players compete, making it extremely challenging for smaller OTAs to stay in the game. As importantly, OTAs are now overshadowed in certain segments by the online supplier-direct channel, as a result of suppliers’ success in developing and promoting their own online booking platforms.
Despite the challenges, OTA bookings continue to climb in Europe. In 2018, the supplier-OTA channel reached €47.9 billion*. Modest growth is projected for the next several years, as OTA bookings grow at roughly half the pace of the supplier-direct channel. More specifically, in terms of OTA channel distribution, growth has become uneven; while desktop bookings are projected to be flat for the next few years, OTA mobile bookings are projected to skyrocket. By 2022, more than a third of European supplier-OTA bookings will be transacted via mobile websites and apps.
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