Direct booking pushing online intermediaries aside

A new monitor of UK travel patterns has found that hotel direct websites are more dominant that third party intermediaries.

Surrey-based Arkenford‘s Travel Navigator is based on a nationally representative online panel comprising 2,000 people. In April and May they were asked about bookings and plans for the next three months.

The findings are the latest to suggest that the UK is likely to be a popular destination for Brits this year and that much of the growth is coming via the web. 13 UK destinations feature on the top 20 places people have actually booked to go.

Around half the sample book the accommodation directly, with this figure including phone reservations as well as online.

Arkenford director Ben Moxon said that smaller bed and breakfasts were using their web sites for information with the booking being made over the phone.

Established hotel chains, particularly budget brands such as Premier Inn and Travelodge, were seeing direct.

“We think this reflects the type of people who stay at these properties,” he said.

“People who stay at family-run, smaller places like the reassurance of talking to someone at the property, whereas budget hotel guests tend to know what they are getting so they are comfortable with a web-only booking.”

“The major trend to emerge from the study is that nearly three-quarters of the panel are planning to spend less on their holidays this year. Travel and tourism businesses often talk themselves up as being able to withstand the recession, but thats a broad statement,” he warned.

He was also surprised that lesser known destinations, in the UK and overseas, were not doing more to pick up business.

There is an opening for destinations to look at what the market leaders are doing and try to offer better value. Consumers are looking for something different for their money.

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