Online hotel bookings to touch one-third mark by 2020: Google-BCG report
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One in three hotel rooms in India will be booked online by 2020 thanks to the growing use of smartphones and the Internet, according to a report jointly prepared by Google India and Boston Consulting Group.

This means the proportion of hotel rooms booked online will nearly double in three years from 17% currently, said the report titled ‘Demystifying the Indian Online Traveler’.

The online hotel market will grow at a compound annual pace of 25% to $4 billion by 2020, said Vikas Agnihotri, industry director at Google India. This is a clear indicator of the growing importance of digital in travel research, planning and booking, he added.

“There are several actionable insights for domestic online travel players, including the role of mobile and the level of curation and personalisation that Indian travellers are looking for,” Agnihotri added.

The report also said that the size of India’s travel market is projected to grow at 11-11.5% a year to $48 billion by 2020 from $27 billion in 2015. Growth will be led by air travel, which is estimated to expand at 15% a year to $30 billion from $15 billion in 2015. “India’s domestic travel market is on an acceleration path,” said Agnihotri.

The hotels sector is projected to grow at 13% annually to $13 billion in the next three years from about $7 billion in 2015, but railways will remain largely stagnant at $5 billion.

The report added that the Indian consumer takes 46 days, on average, to plan for trips and spends 49 minutes online before finalising a booking. A consumer spends about 64% of one’s time at online travel agency sites, 33% on search engines and 26% to search maps, the report said.

The report also said that 57% consumers believe online channels give them better deals while 41% find it more convenient to book online.

“Travel is a high investment, both monetary and emotionally,” said Abheek Singhi, senior partner and Asia-Pacific head of consumer practice at BCG. “Technology has led to democratisation of travel through better information and price discovery.”

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