7 Online Travel Agency Takeaways That Are Making it on Mobile – Skift Travel News | Hot Mobile Press

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Once dismissed as a commission-free loss leader, flights are a new battleground as Expedia and Hopper compete for keywords and customers on mobile.

Dennis Schall

Online travel this week

There were winners, including vrbo, Funnel, and Expediaand losers like Airbnbin the first half of 2022 in the US, when online travel agencies competed with each other via mobile app updates; snap, tick tockand TV marketing campaigns; and other forms of paid search output.

Here are seven takeaways from Apptopias US app download results (see graphic below) among online travel agencies in the first half of this year:

1. It’s good to have vacation rentals
Apps that offer vacation rentals to travelers generally have more traction than apps that don’t have vacation rentals. Advice to hotel chains like Hilton and Hyatt, which have largely refrained from vacation rentals: get involved. OK, so we’ve heard they’re actually preparing for a debut in vacation rentals, as is American Express Fine Hotels.

2. Vrbo was the most downloaded app
Fueled by doubling its growth rate in the US in 2022, Vrbo was the most downloaded app with 10 million downloads. Vrbo was #4 last year, overtaking , Airbnb and Hopper to reach its previous #1 status in 2022. Airbnb fell from the second most downloaded app in the US in 2022 to fifth in the first half of 2022.

3. Airbnb spent marketing dollars to counter an organic advantage of Vrbo
Vrbo was the top organic result for the vacation rentals keyword, possibly because it has always had and is known for its focus on whole homes. Airbnb invested in paid searches for the keyword “vacation rentals” on Apple’s App Store as well as “vrbo” in April to topple its competitor, Apptopia explained. At the same time, Vrbo increased the frequency of app updates in the first half of 2022, thereby contributing to the growth of the app.

4. Hopper takes Airbnb down a notch or two

According to Apptopia, Hopper recently surpassed Airbnb as the online travel agency with the highest market share of monthly active users. Hopper is the fastest growing online travel agency app. Maybe these Hoppers fintech products really do have an allure – especially in times like these when traveling can be exhausting.

5. Expedia and Hopper are fighting over flights
Expedia introduced airfare predictions to its app in late April, in part to compete with Hopper, which has gained market share based on airfare predictions and its fare freeze product. Expedia’s app has consistently ranked higher than Hopper’s in the App Store for about a month since mid-May.

Expedia is the leading bidder on the keyword “flight” in the App Store. Hopper bought eight keywords through April — most related to “flight,” according to Apptopia — but reduced spending in May as downloads slumped.

A spokesman for Expedia Group said Expedia did not introduce fare change notifications to compete with Hopper, but to ensure travelers feel safe booking with Expedia.

When asked about Expedia’s introduction of fare change notifications, a Hopper spokesperson said, “Hopper is the only industry player to forecast fares up to a year in advance with a 95 percent recommendation accuracy. We do this using trillions of price data points, eight years of historical data, and proprietary machine learning algorithms that constantly adapt with real-time data. Dynamically pricing these fintech products correctly to generate revenue while delighting customers is difficult and not easy to replicate.”

6. Vrbo’s TikTok campaign was a winner
Vrbo increased its presence in the consumer mindset by advertising on TikTok for the first time in the first half of 2022 and leveraged a TV campaign through a hashtag challenge on TikTok. “The challenge generated 4.7 million views in three days, with 1.9 million videos created, 12 million comments made and 37 million shared,” according to Broadcasting+Cable.

7. The Booking.com app gained market share in the US

The Booking.com app, the third most downloaded app in the first half of 2022, “was the only online travel agency app to consistently gain market share in the US in 2022,” explained Apptopia and Booking’s Snap campaign. com may have contributed.

Booking.com participated in a beta of Snap’s Dynamic Travel Ads and used them to remarket hotels that visitors to Booking.com’s website had previously seen on Booking.com.

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