“Global Online Airline Booking Market 2018” is a new publication from secondary market research firm yStats.com, based in Hamburg, Germany. The report points to the continued shift of flight ticket sales towards online channels and reveals that airlines’ websites and apps are expected to see their market share grow despite the competition from OTAs. According to yStats.com’s CEO and founder, Yücel Yelken, “Innovations in technology such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data analytics are expected to help airlines improve customers’ booking experience and drive loyalty.”
Airlines’ websites and apps see their online market share grow
Online direct bookings of flight tickets, generated on airlines’ own websites and mobile apps, are projected to see solid growth over the next three years, and increase their share of overall Internet-based flight sales to more than one-half, according to a projection cited in the yStats.com report. Apps especially are on a growth spurt, expected to see their contribution nearly triple by 2021 when compared to two years ago. However, competition from intermediaries, such as Online Travel Agencies, remains strong and forces airlines to re-think their E-Commerce and mobile strategies to encourage customer loyalty. Tech innovations such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data analytics, come to airlines’ aid in providing a frictionless customer experience through direct booking channels.
Mobile sales of flight tickets are on the rise worldwide
International markets are diverse when it comes to the preferred digital booking channels for flight tickets. In the USA, the world’s largest online airline booking market, top airlines’ own websites and apps, including those of American Airlines, United Airlines and Southeast Airlines, generate high amounts of web traffic, while in China, which ranks second, around eight in ten travelers prefer OTAs such as Ctrip and Qunar over airlines’ websites when booking flights. An overarching worldwide trend is the growth of mobile bookings. In Europe, for example, nearly one-quarter of airline bookings were made on mobile devices, according to a recent estimate cited in the yStats.com report. Globally, over one-half of travelers have at least one airline app installed on their devices.