Excerpt from Phocuswright
Travel metasearch was initially built on the premise that travel suppliers needed a platform to compete against OTAs for the attention of bargain-hunting consumers. Suppliers have fared better at holding the stronger metasearch position in the more consolidated U.S. air segment than in the fragmented hotel market. However, when examining U.S. metasearch referral data from analytics firm Jumpshot to the top 15 downstream travel websites over the past two years, share of air referrals to OTAs has been rising and surpassed 50% share last year.
Suppliers have the definitive edge, however, when we consider Google Flights. Analysis of Jumpshot clickstream data over the first half of 2017 shows that four in five Google Flights referrals are to airline websites. Phocuswright research indicates that overall, travelers going to airline websites are more likely to convert than those going to OTAs. This also proves true with Google's metasearch travelers – the disproportionate share of Google Flights' referrals to suppliers is translating to notably higher conversion rates on its leads than other metasearch sites where OTAs get more referrals.
Google Flights is speedily growing monthly visitors (it took them less than five years to surpass KAYAK despite KAYAK's eight-year head start to market), but fewer visitors are clicking onwards to airline or OTA websites.
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