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Aussie travel agents trounce OTAs in major bookings

April 10, 2018 Headline News 2 Comments Email Email

The overwhelming majority of Australians continue to choose travel agents rather than online-only websites when booking overseas travel. Research company Roy Morgan has released survey results showing the enormous dominance agents hold – and has suggested a reason.

The Roy Morgan survey found 42.5% of Australians aged over 14 used a travel agent to book their last overseas holiday or leisure trip during the calendar year 2017. That is vastly more than those who used online-only travel booking websites. Just 15.5% of travellers used those to book their last trip overseas. Put simply, when booking overseas travel, the proportion of Australians who choose an agent rather than an online-only OTA approaches three to one.

Booking sources used for last holiday or leisure trip

Roy Morgan’s Travel Agent Monitor Report concluded that while “online may be increasing as the dominant information source used for planning overseas and domestic trips”, when it comes to parting with money to book for overseas travel, travel agents are where people generally head.

“While it may be simple enough to book your accommodation directly for a domestic holiday, it can get complicated and overwhelming booking an overseas trip, especially if there are multiple destinations, stopovers, and peak holiday times to contend with,” Roy Morgan says.

“Many Australians turn to their travel agent to organise their trip in a concise way to keep their itinerary in check, and even pay for multiple accommodation bookings in a single purchase.”

Roy Morgan’s graphs indicate that direct booking – consumers booking air travel and accommodation direct with principals – is more of a threat to agents than booking through OTAs.

Commenting on the results, Roy Morgan chief executive, Michele Levine, said travel agents operated “in a highly competitive industry, having to contend with a complex marketplace such as bricks and mortar shops, online, and surging technologies such as Airbnb.

Travel websites visited in the last 4 weeks (Top 15)

“The popularity of online comparison websites when planning a holiday is continuing to trend upward, with websites like,, and Qantas being visited the most in an average four-week period.”

Consumers find travel websites useful for planning, the survey showed.

“Often when planning their next trip, Australians turn online to find comparable rates for their holiday,” a Roy Morgan statement said.

“These websites can offer packages that are frictionless, and include deals on travel insurance, accommodation, flights, and car hire.

“The Roy Morgan Travel Agent Monitor Market Indicator Report reveals is the number one website for Australians to visit when planning a holiday, with 15.7% of Australians aged 14+ visiting the website in an average four weeks.

“ and Qantas were the second and third travel websites with visitations in an average four weeks at 13.6% and 13.5% respectively.”

Levine added that Roy Morgan’s Travel Agent Monitor Market Indicator Report benefitted “travel agents, tour operators, and online only travel booking websites, by tracking their performance over time relative to their competitors in terms of brand awareness, advertising awareness, usage, consideration and loyalty. The report also shows how the Internet has changed the way Australians are booking their holiday and leisure travel, and details which travel websites Australians have visited in the last four weeks.”

Edited by Peter Needham

Currently there are "2 comments" on this Article:

  1. AgentGerko says:

    Can’t we get rid of this term OTA or Online Travel Agent? These are NOT travel agents. They are OBS or Online Booking Services.

  2. IanB says:

    As an owner/operator of boutique accommodations, I have no problem paying commissions to ‘real’ travel agents because they actually add-value to their clients’ travel and actually ‘earn’ their commission! The ‘so-called’ OTA’s add no value, pay no GST in this country, and are destroying the accommodation industry in this country with their predatory behaviour and false messages to the general public.

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