Study released today by the European Technology and Travel Services Association and PhoCusWright gives an interesting overview of the online travel landscape across Europe.
So what did the study discover?
Well, apparently around 20,000 people are employed directly by the three GDSs and online travel agencies across the European Union, with a quarter ¬†in “high-tech”.
This still a fraction (7% in fact) of the number of people employed by offline travel agencies, presumably covering shops and call centres.
PhoCusWright predicts gross online bookings will hit 35% of the total in 2011, measuring Euro 83.6 billion compared to Euro 238 billion for the entire market.
This will be a jump of 2% from the 33% share of gross bookings for online in 2010 (Euro 76.9 billion) and a continued steady track upwards from 21% in 2006.
So what about the GDSs? Between the three major players they currently cover over 550 airlines, more than 90,000 hotels and 30,000 car rental points.
They also process around 254 million transactions a year (according to 2008 figures).
The OTAs account for around Euro 24 billion in total travel sales in 2009 (6% growth year-on-year), compared to offline agencies which bring in Euro 23 billion in just air, hotel and car rental, before packages are taken into account.
But how is this shifting? OTAs in Europe, like those in Asia-Pacific, are growing – the sector has grown by 6% from 2008 to 2009, compared to the total travel market, which has declined by 10%.
This was not mirrored in the US, with the total market dropping 16% and the OTA segment also falling by 3%.