OTAs are accounting for a progressively larger share of online travel bookings in the U.S. because of their superior smartphone apps and hotel price shopping capability.

While OTAs have created mobile apps that better enable customers to shop for and purchase hotel rooms, hotel companies have grappled with producing user-friendly booking apps, according to Phocuswright. As a result, “many chains cite insignificant transactions coming from smartphones and tablets,” Phocuswright said.

Phocuswright projects that the majority of online hotel bookings in the U.S. will be made via mobile device in 2017.

Because hotel prices have steeply risen in the past few years (13% from 2012 to 2015, according to hotel research firm STR), more travelers are using OTAs to shop for the best rates, Phocuswright said. And most shoppers are not leaving the OTA to book on a hotel supplier website

OTAs will account for 39% of online travel spending in 2017, up from 37% in 2014, Phocuswright forecasted, and their share of online U.S. hotel bookings will jump to 51% in 2017, up from 46% in 2012. With U.S. hotel bookings totaling about $53 billion a year, that's a $2.6 billion swing.

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