TravelCLICK released its 2005 full-year eTRAK results, which indicate that Internet reservations received at the central reservation offices (CROs) of major hotel brands grew 26.8 percent in 2005 compared to the previous year.

In 2005, brand websites grew again and gained share compared to third-party merchant and opaque websites. According to eTRAK, brand websites were the source of 75.2 percent of the brands' centrally booked Internet reservations, compared to 71.4 percent in 2004. Reservations booked through brand websites climbed 33.4 percent over the 2004 level.

Bookings through merchant websites, such as Expedia, Orbitz, and Travelocity channels, grew by 34 percent over 2004. Opaque websites, such as Priceline and Hotwire, decreased by 10.2 percent.

eTRAK is a quarterly benchmarking report that allows hotel chains to track booking trends on the Internet and GDS. The full-year 2005 eTRAK report highlights both the growth of electronic hotel bookings on the Internet and the continuing importance of GDS e-commerce for 30 major hotel brands and chains. eTRAK shows that 34.6 percent of CRO reservations came through GDS channels, while Internet sites contributed 35.2 percent of CRO reservations in 2005. In total, 61,248,204 bookings were made last year for these brands through the GDS and the Internet -- 30,410,234 GDS bookings and 30,837,970 Internet bookings.

The 30 major brands also reported that, on average, 26.6 percent of their CRO reservations were received from their brand website (marriott.com, hilton.com, etc.) while slightly less than one-third, or 30.2 percent, of CRO reservations were made by phone.

"The market is giving a clear indication that hotels are regaining control of their distribution channels," commented Robert Post, President and CEO of TravelCLICK. "While hotels recognize the key role of the GDS and third-party online agencies, they will continue to look for ways to drive business through their proprietary channels. But due to its highly effective target marketing, we expect the GDS to maintain its 30+ percent share of bookings over the next two years, while voice reservations continue to decline because of the increasing preference of consumers to book electronically."

Combined, Expedia and Hotels.com had a 59.5 percent market share of merchant bookings received at the CRO of the major hotel brands. Travelocity and Orbitz had market shares of 21.8 percent and 10.1 percent, respectively.

Priceline's share of opaque bookings at the 30 major hotel brands was 74.5 percent in 2005, while Hotwire's growth of 17.8 percent year-over-year secured a 25.5 percent share.

The eTRAK report covers all central reservation office booking results including GDS, voice, and Internet bookings. The report allows subscribers to compare their own performance compared to their direct competitors and the industry in general. The unique information contained in eTRAK is intended to help hotel companies determine e-commerce priorities, such as where to invest Internet advertising dollars and which sites create the best returns. For more information about TravelCLICK's eTRAK report, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Results from this study may differ from overall hospitality industry trends on the Internet and GDS because eTRAK reflects only the performance of 30 major brands. The conclusions, however, are directional for the industry as a whole.