Airlines' Lead Over Online Travel Agencies Stalling
"While it appeared that airlines' website growth was unstoppable, they actually have maxed out their online direct booking gains for the time being," says Phocuswright's senior research analyst, Maggie Rauch. "Airlines have optimized their advantage selling ancillaries such as extra legroom and checked bags, and now it's the OTAs' turn to grow airline revenue based on new merchandising capabilities."
Airlines own the majority of online air bookings through their websites and apps, but have not been able to add to their lead over OTAs. Still, airlines' direct channel strength gives them more leverage than ever. It's not out of the question for U.S. carriers to follow Lufthansa's example of charging a fee for intermediated bookings in the near future. It remains to be seen if they will develop the technical readiness and commercial resolve necessary to take the plunge.
Also included in the report are projections for airlines' mobile bookings through 2017. While tablets and smartphones have become an integral part of trip planning and indispensable day-of-travel tools, consumer adoption of mobile air bookings has been slower to take hold.
Phocuswright's U.S. Airlines: At Cruising Altitude provides comprehensive market sizing of the U.S. travel industry with a focus on the airline segment.
For more on the U.S. travel industry, explore Phocuswright's U.S. Online Travel Overview Fifteenth Edition. This report provides a detailed overview of travel distribution in the U.S., with analysis of trends in market share, technological innovation and consumer behavior.