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Lodging drives steady growth in U.S. travel market

The total U.S travel market is projected to grow 6% in 2016, reaching US$361 billion. Lodging is the leading driver of growth as hotels enjoy record average daily rates (ADRs) and high demand.

NEW YORK – Demand is high for all types of travel in the U.S., but the hotel sector is having an especially rosy few years with demand rising faster than supply. Hotels continue to rule as the most important source of sustenance for online travel agencies (OTAs), so dominance of online share will shift slightly to OTAs from suppliers. A new Phocuswright report, U.S. Online Travel Overview Fifteenth Edition, provides a detailed overview of travel distribution in the U.S., with analysis of trends in market share, technological innovation and consumer behavior.

The total U.S travel market is projected to grow 6% in 2016, reaching US$361 billion. Lodging is the leading driver of growth as hotels enjoy record average daily rates (ADRs) and high demand. All these heads in beds helped lodging surpass air in 2015 to become the U.S. travel market’s largest segment.

“Strength in the lodging sector continues to benefit OTAs as travelers turn to them to sort through options and find deals in a fragmented market,” says Phocuswright’s senior research analyst, Maggie Rauch. “The health of the lodging sector is also constricting online penetration gains, as call centers and walk-ups account for more than half of hotel bookings.”

OTAs widened their lead over suppliers’ online channels in 2015 – OTA bookings increased 10%, compared to 5% for suppliers – and they show no sign of slowing down in the short term. Online agencies will remain the fastest-growing online channel through 2017.

Overall, online channels are no longer growing by double digits. In 2015, 45% of U.S. travel bookings were made online, vs. 47% in Europe. By 2017, online and offline channels will grow at the same rate, as the U.S. online travel market hits $171 billion.

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Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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