In 2023, the online travel industry emerged from the post-pandemic lull, surpassing 2019 levels and signaling a robust recovery. Anticipated to witness a 25% growth in revenue, this resurgence was notably fueled by a robust recovery in the Asia Pacific region, surpassing initial expectations.

The growth narrative is distinctly led by booking platforms catering to the Asia-Pacific market, with names like,, and Rehlat exhibiting some of the most impressive growth rates. As we step into 2024, these platforms are poised to maintain their momentum, shaping the landscape of online travel.

Global vs Regional: Which OTAs should your Hotel be listed on?

In the expansive realm of online travel, global heavyweights like Expedia,, and TripAdvisor wield influence that transcends continents. Their formidable presence extends across more than two continents, making them the go-to choices for a significant chunk of global travelers.

From January 2022 to October 2023, these global titans secured an impressive 65% share of total bookings. This dominance is a testament to the trust and preference travelers place in these internationally acclaimed platforms.

On the flip side, regional OTAs, prominent in continents beyond the Middle East, contribute a substantial 35% to the total bookings pie. These region-specific platforms cater to the diverse preferences of travelers exploring various corners of the globe.

Changing Dynamics: Rise in Share of Bookings of Regional OTAs

Change in Share of Bookings among the OTA Types in UAE
Booking Dates: January 2022 – September 2023 | Source: RateGain Bookings Data

A noteworthy trend unfolds as the share of regional OTAs in the Middle East experiences robust growth, surging by approximately 70% — climbing from 25% in Q1 (January – March) 2022 to nearly 40% in Q2 (April – June) and Q3 (July – September) 2023.

This surge can be attributed to the resurgence of international travel to the Middle East in the post-COVID era, underlining the evolving dynamics of the industry.

DOTW, TBO, and from Asia, showed over 150% growth in bookings

Growth in bookings for rising UAE OTAs

What is Driving the Change? What does it mean for the indsutry?

A pivotal player in this transformation is Google, firmly establishing itself at the forefront of the travel search funnel.

  1. Incumbents like Expedia and Booking, which have the marketing budget scale to win sponsored listings, can easily benefit from this.
  2. But at the same time, Google’s organic hotel search is creating opportunities for hotels to compete directly with distributors and for smaller OTAs to build a foothold.

Next Course of Action for the Hotels

It is pivotal for hotels to have a distribution strategy with a clear mix of direct listings, regional OTAs, and global OTAs. In doing so, they must ensure a consistent and updated distribution of rates, inventory, and hotel content across all platforms with the help of a channel manager.

Integrate with new OTAs