7 Takeaways From Online Travel Agencies Slugging It Out on Mobile

Skift Take

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

Online Travel This Week

There were winners, including Vrbo, Hopper, and Expedia, and losers such as Airbnb, in the first half of 2022 in the U.S. as online travel agencies competed with one another via mobile app updates; Snap, TikTok, and TV marketing campaigns; and other forms of paid search spend.

Here are seven takeaways from Apptopia’s U.S. app download findings (see chart below) among online travel agencies in the first half of this year:

1. It’s Good to Have Vacation Rentals
Apps that offers travelers vacation rentals generally have more traction than apps devoid of vacation rentals. Note to hotel chains such as Hilton and Hyatt that have largely abstained from vacation rentals: Get in the game. OK, we hear they are indeed readying a debut in vacation rentals, as is American Express Fine Hotels.

2. Vrbo Was Most Downloaded App
Fueled by doubling its growth rate in the U.S. in 2022, Vrbo was the most-downloaded app with 10 million downloads. Vrbo was #4 last year so it overtook , Airbnb, and Hopper to achieve its #1 status so far in 2022. Airbnb fell from second most-downloaded app in the U.S. in 2022 to fifth in the first half of 2022.

3. Airbnb Spent Marketing Dollars to Counter a Vrbo Organic Advantage
Vrbo was the top organic result for the keyword “vacation rentals,” which may be because it has always focused on and been known for whole homes. Airbnb invested in paid search for the keyword “vacation rentals” in Apple’s App Store in April, as well as for “vrbo” in a bid to topple its rival,

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