European Online Travel Market Grows in 2010

PhoCusWright says that the online market in Europe is expected to grow by 10%.

The European online travel market is expected to grow by 10% in 2010, as the overall travel market begins a modest recovery. This is the conclusion of a soon-to-be-released new report by PhoCusWright Inc. Following an 11% decline in 2009, the total European travel market is projected to grow by 2% in 2010. Carroll Rheem, director of research at PhoCusWright: “For travellers who may have been hesitant to book online, the recession provided the extra push they needed. Deal seekers turned to the Internet, and online travel agencies in particular, to find affordable options.”

The European online travel market managed to inch upwards in 2009, increasing by 1% as the overall travel market suffered. The buoyancy of the online market is due largely to the strength of the online travel agency channel, which grew in 2009, while supplier websites slipped. “Hotel bookings are fuelling online travel agency growth in Europe, with brands like Priceline’s maintaining extraordinarily high growth rates,” adds Rheem.

“Online travel agency bookings are on track for strong double-digit growth in 2010.” Macroeconomic factors have driven sluggish growth in the European travel market overall, with air travel restrictions spurred by volcanic ash from Iceland creating an additional setback to recovery. Of course, the outlook for 2010 and beyond varies for each regional market and industry segment.