Online bookings may stop growing at 50% of total

Travel expert says there will always be a need for agents
The amount of bookings made online in the Nordics could soon stop growing at about 50% of the total proportion, according to Travelport’s representative for the region.
The proportion of people making travel bookings online in Europe is slowing down, reaching 47% this year, said Simon Ferguson, Travelport’s managing director for the UK, Ireland and the Nordic countries. He was speaking at the Hays Independence Group Conference in Vilamoura, Portugal.
Predicting that there is only about 3% further potential growth available for online bookings, he added that the channel is likely to go no further.
“Most things you can book online are being booked online; anything with any complexity is done offline and a lot of that is agents and other intermediaries,” he said.
He cited the example of Amazon, whose entire strategy to date has been selling online as a company of the internet era.
But with billions in delivery costs that are “growing out of control and not sustainable”, Ferguson said, the company announced last week that it would open an actual city-centre bookshop.
“The future of retail is a mix between online and offline,” Ferguson said. “If you think about it, traditional retailers can absolutely be digital retailers and you have some natural advantages playing in this space.”
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