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OTAs capture most youth traveller accommodation bookings

Jan 26, 2018

Online Travel Agents (OTAs) are gaining more traction with young travellers, but there is still opportunity for hostels to win direct bookings. During the 2018 STAY WYSE Conference in Amsterdam, WYSE Travel Confederation Director General David Chapman presented the accommodation-related findings from the 2017 New Horizons survey of more than 57,000 youth travellers worldwide.

The fourth edition of the New Horizons survey found 46% of young travellers used an OTA to book their accommodation, up from 31% in 2012. The survey also revealed that Booking.com is the most popular OTA for travellers under 30 years old. Forty percent of young travellers used Booking.com to book their travel accommodation. When combined, OTAs and other intermediaries accounted for 67% of bookings by surveyed travellers.

“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.

Twenty-three percent of New Horizons survey respondents reported using Airbnb to book their accommodation. Airbnb-style accommodation also displaced family and friends as the third most popular travel accommodation for young travellers in 2017 compared to 2012. Still, hostels were the top choice for young travellers.

“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.”

As brands such as Freehand Hotels and Generator Hostels garner accolades for their design-led concepts with social spaces and local flair, it is clear that youth-inspired travel accommodation is now part of the mainstream.