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34% of Indians book airline tickets through online travel agents: Study

According to a study by The Nielsen Company, 34 per cent of Indians book airline tickets using online travel agents, 17 per cent book hotels and holidays using OTAs and 14 per cent book train tickets using these sites. It was also found that Yatra, MakeMyTrip and TravelGuru are the strongest players in the OTA segment.

According to a study by The Nielsen Company, 34 per cent of Indians book airline tickets using online travel agents, 17 per cent book hotels and holidays using OTAs and 14 per cent book train tickets using these sites. It was also found that Yatra, MakeMyTrip and TravelGuru are the strongest players in the OTA segment.

The India Online Travel Agent Study also reveals that 77 per cent of internet-connected Indians use OTA sites to search for airline information, 65 per cent use the sites to search for train information, 59 per cent for hotel and 57 per cent for information on holidays.

The study further states that OTAs have garnered a significant share of the airline ticket booking, considerably higher than even the company website of the airlines. The other alternatives to online travel agents include traditional travel agents and tour operators, booking offices of hotels, and railway website for train booking.

“Given the growing penetration of the internet in India, online travel agents are becoming increasingly popular amongst Indians. Consumers also find it quite convenient to book their tickets using these sites as it saves them time and effort required to make their reservations compared to other forms of bookings,” Vatsala Pant, director, consumer research, The Nielsen Company, has said.

Amongst users of OTA sites the image of the brand plays a more important role than the product related offerings like price and services of the agent. However, for non-users of OTA price does command importance.

The key deterrents to using online travel agents by non-users is that the rates offered are not the cheapest as claimed by the agents (33%). Consumers also stay away from OTAs because they consider cancellation/modification procedure very tedious (24%) on these sites. Lack of transparency in dealings is another reason that holds non-users of the category from making bookings through online travel agents.

According to Nielsen, the findings are based on a survey of 842 people in 4 Metros (Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore) and 3 Mini-Metros (Lucknow, Vadodara, Coimbatore). Respondents were in the age group 20-55 years and included those who had travelled by air in the past 12 months, were decision makers for air travel in the past 12 months, and who used the internet to surf for travel related information.

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