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OTAs capture most young traveller accommodation bookings

Jan 25, 2018


OTAs capture most young traveller accommodation bookings
Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 25 January 2015

Sixty-seven percent of young travellers choose to book their accommodation via Online Travel Agents (OTAs) and other intermediaries rather than direct with the accommodation provider, according to a recent global survey of young travellers, New Horizons. About 46% of young travellers booked their accommodation via an OTA in 2017, up from 31% in 2012.

Challenges and opportunities to generate more direct bookings from young travellers

The New Horizons findings on the travel booking behaviours of the Millennial and Z generations were revealed by WYSE Travel Confederation at the third annual STAY WYSE Hostel Business Conference in Amsterdam. The conference brings together more than 300 travel accommodation providers, travel agents, tour operators, service providers and others specialised in youth travel.

“With only 33% of young travellers booking direct, clearly there is an opportunity for your hostel or hotel to do more direct business – we also understand that there are challenges for accommodation providers to compete with OTAs for this direct business,” said David Chapman, Director General of the World Youth Student and Educational (WYSE) Travel Confederation.

Young travellers look to and Airbnb to book

The New Horizons survey reveals that is the most popular OTA used by the under-30 travel market globally, used by 40% of young travellers to book accommodation. Twenty-three percent of young travellers reported using Airbnb to book their accommodation.

Hostels remain top choice, but live like a local pushes family and friends back

European and American brands such as Freehand Hotels and Generator Hostels have been recognised for their design-led concepts with social spaces and local flair, bringing youth-inspired travel accommodation into the mainstream.

Hostels and hotels are the top travel lodging choices for young travellers globally (21% and 20% respectively), followed by Airbnb and other sharing economy type accommodation (15%). Airbnb-style accommodation displaced family and friends as the third most popular travel accommodation for young travellers in 2017 compared to 2012.

“With more than 304 million international travellers in 2017, the youth travel segment has driven the development of new hotel concepts that are social by design,” said David Chapman. “Youth travellers have always been the trailblazers of tourism.”


For media enquiries:

WYSE Travel Confederation

Tel: +31 (0)20 421 2800


About New Horizons:

New Horizons is the only recurring global survey of the youth, student and educational travel market. The aim of the study is to provide an overview of the youth travel market, which WYSE Travel Confederation and UNWTO have estimated to account for 23% of international arrivals annually.

The study provides insight to travel agents, suppliers, destination marketers, policymakers, and other stakeholders of the global travel and tourism industry, offering a global perspective on trends of the under-30 travel market:

  • Where do youth travellers come from and where have they travelled to?
  • What are the main purposes and motivations for youth to travel?
  • How do youth plan and book trips?
  • How much do youth spend on trips?
  • What activities do youth participate in while in a destination?
  • How do youth visitors rate the cities they have visited?

Conducted by WYSE Travel Confederation once every five years, the New Horizons IV Survey attracted more than 57,000 responses from 188 countries and territories between June and November 2017.

WYSE Travel Confederation is a global membership association for the youth travel industry and known for its global travel trade events and research specifically on the youth and student travel market. More information is available at

About WYSE Travel Confederation:

  • The World Youth Student and Educational (WYSE) Travel Confederation is a global not-for-profit membership organisation dedicated to promoting and developing opportunities for the youth, student and educational travel industry.
  • Founded in 2006 and created from the merger of the Federation of International Youth Travel organisations (FIYTO) and the International Student Travel Confederation (ISTC) – both formed after World War II to inspire young people through international travel and to help remove cultural barriers – the confederation brings together 60 years of youth travel expertise.
  • Providing international travel experiences to over 30 million youth and students each year, WYSE Travel Confederation’s global community of over 600 members spans more than 120 countries from a diverse range of sectors.
  • From adventure tour operators to au pair agencies, cultural exchange programmes to language schools, hop-on-hop-off buses to student insurance and youth hostels to volunteer programmes, WYSE Travel Confederation is the world’s most powerful network of youth and student travel professionals, connecting key industry players with decision makers and government officials.
  • The Confederation is committed to understanding the ever-changing characteristics, motivations and needs of young travellers. By gathering, analysing and sharing important market intelligence with members, academics and government decision-makers, the unique fast-changing needs of the youth market is at the forefront of its activities as it seeks to accelerate the development of youth travel.

For more information, visit or follow the organisation on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.