COVID impacts OTA Aussie bookings

ACCOMMODATION bookings made through Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) for Australian stays has steadily declined between 2020 and 2021, a new report published by Oxford Economics suggests.

The share of the Australian market for OTAs versus bookings made through other sources shrank from 12.28% in 2020 to just 8.8% in 2021, with the pandemic also eroding the segment’s total number of booking nights made, which declined from 40 million nights in 2019 to just 14 million in 2020.

A further decrease was noted in 2021, with 8 million nights booked through OTAs out of a total market of 90 million, representing a significant downward turn when compared to the 15.5% of total accommodations bookings pre-pandemic.

However, on a positive note the report also found that OTAs were responsible for generating just under 5,000 jobs, while OTAs also contributed $600 million to the country’s GDP in 2020 and around $500 million in 2021.

The industry is also responsible for driving down hotel prices and making trips more affordable, the report argues, with OTAs generating an average reduction in rates of $13.60 per room night (7% reduction) across Australia between 2014 and 2019.

Oxford Economics also contends that OTAs provide a positive impact for the travel economy overall, injecting an extra 800,000 room nights in 2021 than otherwise would not have been made, and an additional 1.7 million extra nights in 2020.

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