Nearly 30% of all hotel reservations in Switzerland were generated via direct online channels in 2012, according to a study from the Institute of Tourism at the University of Applied Sciences of Western Switzerland Valais.
The study found that online travel agencies (OTAs) accounted for the majority of digital reservations, accepting more than two-thirds of online hotel bookings in Switzerland, and more than one in five of all hotel reservations. While 62% of reservations were made directly with hotels, whether via telephone, fax, email or walk-in, very few occurred through the properties’ website reservation systems. Indeed, hotels’ own websites only accounted for about one in 20 hotel bookings, actually losing 0.7% share compared with 2011.
OTAs’ dominance of the online market is underscored by the fact that they generated more than 20% of bookings for over half of all hotels in Switzerland last year. About one in seven hotels received more than 40% of its bookings via OTAs.
The online travel agency marketplace in Switzerland has numerous players, but Booking.com stands far above the rest. The Priceline-owned site not only had 67% market share of OTA reservations at the end of last year, but the site actually raised its share among OTAs from an already hefty 52% in 2011. Booking.com’s dominance is contextualized further by the fact that the site garnered nearly one in six total Swiss hotel bookings (14.8%).
Marketers targeting potential online travel bookers in Switzerland should note that Swiss internet users skew young and affluent, according to media research company WEMF AG für Werbemedienforschung. In 2012, consumers between 14- to 34-years-old comprised 46.7% of internet users and nearly half (47.7%) occupied the highest socioeconomic level, with monthly income of at least CHF8,000 ($8,510).
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