India is clearly an emerging leisure online travel market. Despite being slow in technology adoption, the hospitality industry is beginning to capitalise on the Internet boom to market themselves to the entire world. According to industry estimates, Internet bookings across various categories of hotels have registered 75-100% growth over the past year.
While Internet bookings in five star hotels account for 30-35% of the total bookings, in four star and three star categories, nearly 15-20% of bookings are online.

For instance, The Park Hotels registered a growth of 100% in Internet bookings this year and currently 30% of its total bookings come through the Internet. Likewise, hospitality major Taj Hotels has experienced nearly 65-70% growth in revenue through Internet bookings this year and in ITC Hotels, online bookings grew by 25% to 30% over the past six months.

In Le Meridien, Internet bookings, which currently account for 36% of the total bookings, grew by 75% over the past year. In Leela Hotels, online bookings constituted nearly 30% of the total bookings while The Grand Ashok saw its Internet bookings grow from 5% last year to 37% this year.

“Internet booking is the way of the future. It is a win-win situation for both hoteliers and the customers,” says Karambir Kang, general manager, Taj Lands End Mumbai. According to him, the revenue yields through Internet bookings are also much higher as it reduces the marketing cost and enables hoteliers to sell their distress inventory. “Nearly 90% of the bookings were earlier done through other media such as fax and phone calls.,” recalls Randeep Bhandari, general manager, ITC Hotel Sonar Bangla, Kolkata.