New research shows US-based online travel agents (OTAs) seeing notable increases in bookings for their online businesses over the course of 2013.

Released in the lead up to the busy summer period, a new report from CJ Affiliate by Conversant, based on a comparison of travel sales between last year and 2012, has stressed the impact that web bookings could have on the US hospitality industry as its members prepare for peak season.

Growth for online

The CJ Affiliate Travel Benchmarks report lays out an array of interesting statistics for travel companies to ponder, highlighting that 80% of leisure and business travellers will take to the web to plan their breaks.

In 2013, everyday holidaymakers in the US spent a total of $126 billion online while booking their holidays. The report believes an expected rise in mobile travel sales will drive this figure even higher in the coming years, with smartphones and tablets tipped to power 16% of all purchases in 2014.

As for the companies that allow their customers to book online, they’ll be looking to steal ground on their competitors as the battle for business heats up.

OTAs hand lesson to direct suppliers  

The research shows online travel agencies – or companies brokering the purchase of travel services – welcoming a boom in hotel bookings last year.

Their total number of reservations rose by 27% compared to readings from 2012. Direct suppliers reported a more impressive rise of 39%, but this was to be one of few occasions where big businesses stole ground over the brokers.

Researchers from CJ Affiliate by Conversant discovered that 76% of all air bookings in 2013 were made through online travel agencies, which could be attributed to many sites offering consumers the chances to compare prices.

Online agencies also saw more growth in their average order value for hotels, which grew 7% compared to the 3% achieved by direct suppliers.

Still, going direct was revealed as the preferred method of purchase in some of the smaller areas of the study, like renting cars. It was here that suppliers were found to be supporting a 22% rise in car bookings year on year through its staggering 91% share of the market.