June 07, 2018

How smaller OTAs find ways to grab customers

Smaller OTAs are making inroads, thanks to strategies that include mobile-only approaches and an enhanced focus on customer service.

According to Phocuswright's U.S. Online Travel Overview 17th Edition Report published in February, OTAs' market share rose to 19% in 2017 from 17% in 2015. Booking Holdings brands Priceline and Booking.com accounted for 23% of the U.S. OTA market share last year, while Expedia brands (excluding Egencia and HomeAway) accounted for 69%.

That equates to a massive 92% of the OTA market share, leaving 8% for smaller players. Still, the non-Expedia and Booking market share did increase 1% in 2017.

"It's definitely difficult to compete with companies that are as large and as successful as many of the OTAs are," said Dakota Smith, head of growth and business at Hopper, an app that analyzes billions of flights to help users find the best deals. "Travel is a very interesting space, but it's also a very competitive space."

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