There has been a shift in consumer preference towards booking holidays directly, instead of going through an online travel agency (OTA), according to a recent poll from GlobalData.
The poll reports that a total of 39% of respondents said they would typically book directly, followed by 17% that opted for OTAs and price comparison sites.
The shift should come as no surprise given the flexible cancellation and straightforward refund policies offered by direct booking, the data and analytics company notes.
Gus Gardner, associate travel and tourism analyst at GlobalData, points out that: “The pandemic has caused a significant shift in consumer booking habits. A previous survey in Q3 2019 showed that OTAs were the most popular booking option, followed by direct booking with a hotel or airline. However, some OTAs have been extremely slow to issue refunds and have received a raft of bad press as a result. This has knocked travellers’ confidence to book through intermediaries.”
Gardner continued: “Direct booking channels are likely to have experienced an increase in popularity due to the fragility of booking a trip in the current situation. Travelers now desire the highest level of flexibility, and it is no wonder that direct booking channels’ flexible terms, easy changes and quick refunds are winning travellers over.”
And he said that: “The ability to make changes online places the power back into the traveler’s hands and streamlines the whole process. By booking directly, the traveler cuts out the middleman, considerably speeds up the change/refund process, and increases their satisfaction.”
Gardner concludes: “Confidence in OTAs’ ability to issue refunds has quickly dented confidence. The slow responses have been incredibly frustrating and have resulted in a slight shift away from this booking method.”
Go to www.globaldata.com for more.