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And Australia’s new favourite travel agent is…Booking.com!

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January-December 2016, n=14,330.

Nobody could accuse the tourism industry of being uneventful, and the latest data from the Roy Morgan Holiday Tracker survey reveals there have been some striking developments in the travel agents most popular with holidaying Aussies—starting with the stratospheric rise of online-only operator, Booking.com.

In an average 12-month period, 13.5 million Australians aged 14+ (68.3% of the population) take at least one holiday, according to research conducted by Roy Morgan in 2016. Booking.com was the most widely used travel agent, with 9.3% of the population (just over 1.8 million holiday-goers) using it at least once. Second-most popular was Flight Centre (9.0%), while relative newcomer Airbnb (4.8%) took third position.

This is the first time for many years that an agent other than Flight Centre has occupied top spot, and shows how much has changed since Roy Morgan’s last travel agent findings (for June 2015) were released. Back then, Flight Centre was the most popular agent (9.4%), well ahead of Booking.com (5.8%) and Wotif.com (5.2%). Airbnb did not yet feature in the Top 15.

Top 15 travel agents used by Australians at least once for holiday, last 12 months

top-15-most-used-travel-agents

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January-December 2016, n=14,330. NB: Airbnb measured since July 2015; Trivago measured since July 2016.

Another recent entrant to the market, Trivago, is also making its presence felt in seventh position (used by 2.5% of Aussies at least once in the previous 12 months). Other travel agents whose popularity has grown in the last 18 months include Expedia.com.au (3.7%, up from 3.2%), Hotels.com (2.4%, up from 2.1%) and Helloworld (2.1%, up from 1.3%).


Flight Centre still flying highest for consideration

Although the proportion of Aussies who used Flight Centre for a holiday in the last 12 months has slipped slightly, it maintains a healthy lead as the travel agent more Australians would consider using next time they take a holiday (23.4%, virtually unchanged from 23.6%).

Consideration for Booking.com has shot up from 10.0% to 13.6%. Wotif.com hasn’t fared as well, dropping from second-most considered travel agent (10.9%) as of June 2015 to sixth (10.3%) in 2016. Not surprisingly, Airbnb (10.7%) and Trivago (10.4%) are also shaking things up in the consideration stakes, debuting in the Top Five for 2016.

Top 15 travel agents Australians would consider using for next holiday

top-15-considered-travel-agents

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January-December 2016, n=14,330.

 

Norman Morris, Industry Communications Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Since Roy Morgan Research started measuring Australian holiday-goers’ use of travel agents and tour operators in January 2004, Flight Centre has been the undisputed leader. So for Booking.com to overtake the long-term leader is big news.

“Bricks-and-mortar travel agents have been heavily impacted by the rise of online-only operators, with those that didn’t adapt quickly enough to the digital age soon finding themselves losing relevance. Flight Centre has long been the flag-bearer for ‘traditional’ travel agents that made a successful transition to a multi-channel service; Booking.com, on the other hand is strictly online.

“And it’s not the only web-based service to be making waves in this always competitive, ever-evolving field: as mentioned, Airbnb has seen a steep uptake since its Australian launch in 2008, and Trivago (here since 2013) is also gaining major traction with its ubiquitous TV commercials.

“Flight Centre is clearly still viewed positively by Australians, topping the ‘consideration set’ for future holiday use. Importantly, Roy Morgan data indicates that Flight Centre was more popular than any of its online-only rivals among Aussies who headed overseas on their last trip.

“While there is no denying the ease and convenience of the friction-free booking experience provided by web-based travel agents, bricks-and-mortar stores have the edge when it comes to personalised service—and Roy Morgan’s Holiday Tracker can help them identify those travellers for whom this is especially important." 


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About Roy Morgan Research

Roy Morgan Research is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan Research has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate

40%-60%

25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%

5,000

±1.4

±1.2

±0.8

±0.6

7,500

±1.1

±1.0

±0.7

±0.5

10,000

±1.0

±0.9

±0.6

±0.4

20,000

±0.7

±0.6

±0.4

±0.3

50,000

±0.4

±0.4

±0.3

±0.2