Online hotel booking to hit $1.8 bn by 2016

grandNEW DELHI: Online hotel bookings in the country will touch USD 1.8 billion by 2016, as more and more Indians turn to the Internet for finalizing travel plans, according to Google.

“Consumer confidence to do online hotel bookings is on the rise in India, with an estimated 8.4 million Indians likely to book hotels online by 2016… the online hotel booking Industry will be worth USD 1.8 billion from the current USD 0.8 billion,” a report by Google India stated.

One of the biggest factors for this sizzling growth is the convenience the Internet offers while carrying out the transaction.

“People are able to compare. Online helps you get more information to make better decisions and do better planning for vacations,” Google India Industry Director Vikas Agnihotri told PTI.

Explaining the modus operandi, he said: “It will help occupancy in hotels grow, with more consumers coming in. For, a lot of hotels in budget and economy segments can be discovered online and bookings accordingly done online.”

According to the report, there is significant headroom for growth in the sector as the ease of access to information and details available online are propelling consumer confidence to book hotels electronically.
What is fuelling the trend is growing usage of mobile phones as the preferred choice to access the Internet.

On Google search, hotel enquiries from mobiles clocked 30 times growth from 2011 to 2014, the report said.

“In terms of demographics, users in the age group of 35-44 are the most tech-savvy when it comes to booking hotels online,” it added.

Short duration trips are on the rise in India, as leisure travelers prefer more than two or more trips in a year, with 64 per cent respondents preferring short breaks of less than 5 days, the report added.
There are some ‘ifs’ though. The report said: “Safety and trust were the top deterrents. Respondents cited low trust in online portal offerings.”

Complicated terms and conditions, concerns about online cancellation policies, better rates and discounts available offline and personalized service were cited as the other reasons for users to book hotels offline, it added.

The report compiled by Google India was based on face-to-face research conducted by TNS interviewing travelers who had booked a hotel in the last one year and are active Internet users across India. The sample size was 3,716 in the age group of 18-54 years from metros, tier I and tier II cities.-PTI

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