Online Travel Agencies gain market shares in Swiss hospitality in 2010
According to our survey many Swiss hotels worked with Online Travel Agencies (OTA) during times of economic uncertainties and strong Swiss franc trying to gain new customers and to compensate for foreseen losses. This explains the continuous increase of market shares of such platforms in 2010. Nevertheless direct booking channels of the hotels are still dominant sales’ forces.
A rough estimation of online sales in the Swiss hotel sector based on data from our survey results in an overall turnover of probably more than 850 Million CHF in 2010 and commission costs of some 90 Million CHF. OTA have significantly increased their market share, from 5.7% in 2008 to 13.6% in 2010.
Direct booking channels as dominant sales forces
Despite the growth of the OTA, direct booking channels such as telephone, fax, walk-ins, e-mail, Web form on the own website are still dominant for Swiss hotels. The share of these direct bookings decreased between 2008 and 2010 from 75.4 percent to 71.1 percent. On average more than half of all bookings (55.9%) are mediated through electronic channels, but Swiss hotels realize on average only 4.9% of all sales through this channel (this proportion is 8.7% in city hotels). Booking.com, Hotel Reservation System (HRS), Switzerland Travel Centre (STC) and destination management systems (DMS) of local destinations are the most frequently used online channels in the Swiss hospitality sector. Booking.com has a high penetration rate of 90% among members of the hotel association. Three out of four properties say that this platform is important to very important for their sales activities underlining the importance of this OTA in the Swiss market.
Since 2003 the University of Applied Sciences of Western Switzerland Valais (HES-SO Valais) in collaboration with the Swiss Hotel Association (www.hotelleriesuisse.ch) has conducted regularly surveys in order to monitor the evolution of sales in the different distribution channels. An online questionnaire was sent to over 2’000 members of hotelleriesuisse in January 2011 and resulted in 244 valid responses.