Millward Brown research has identified walk-ins as the dominant channel for hotel bookings in India.
In fact, more than one in four hotel bookings across India are made this way. In a glass half-full world, this means there is a big offline-to-online shift for the OTAs, hotel direct and last-minute specialists to exploit.
But in a glass half empty context, it could mean that the marketing and promotion departments of OTAs and the like are doing a poor job if so many people are simply walking into a hotel and booking at the reception desk.
Millward Brown talked to hoteliers rather than customers for the survey. It identified the top 20 Indian destinations for business and leisure and carried out more than 1,500 face-to-face interviews with people at the hotels in charge of the bookings.
The result is a comprehensive breakdown of how more than 4.2 million room nights were booked in the July to September quarter.
Walk-ins account for 28% of the bookings, offline in advance accounts for 31% and online in advance 41%.
But the breakdown goes further. For offline channels the 31% is made up of people calling the reception desk directly (12%), people calling their corporate travel agent or TMC and booking that way (11%) and people booking from a high street agent (7%). "Other" gets 1%.
For the 41% of hotel bookings which are defined as online, Millward Brown breaks this down into B2C and B2B. In B2C, OTAs account for 18%; hotel direct 7%. In B2B corporate web bookings get 10% and GDSs 6%.
So combining the walk-ins and phone-ins, the hotel receptionist could be overseeing 40% of a hotel's business.
The study then looks at the market share of the OTAs. MakeMyTrip comes out on top with a 25% market share, followed by goibibo.com with 19%.
In terms of the global OTAS, Priceline Group significantly outperforms Expedia Inc - the former's Booking.com and Agoda.com have a 12% and 5% share respectively; the latter's Expedia.in and hotels.com register 5% and 2%.
MakeMyTrip also has the most hotel inventory across all categories of hotel and is particularly dominant in the 4/5-star sector.
Its CEO for India, Rajesh Magow, said that the signs were positive for the OTAs in general and for MakeMyTrip as the market leader in particular. He believes that the 18% share of the OTAs will grow on the back of "smartphone penetration, affordability and choice."
And he added: "The strategic investment from Ctrip will further enable us to move to the next stage of hyper growth as we seek to unlock new opportunities in the online travel category.”
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