Picture: Getty Images. Picture: Getty Images.

More consumers in the Middle East are using the internet for hotel bookings according to a report by PhoCus Wright’s Middle Eastern online travel overview.

In 2012, hotel bookings from the GCC totalled US $1.6 billion, 10% of which were made online. However, the report concludes that numerous online booking portals tend to post different rates for the same hotels, causing guests to spend more time comparing prices.

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Amer Al Halabi, regional manager of MENA for HotelsCombined, an online search engine for hotel bookings says: “With so many websites available for online hotel booking, it’s hard for the consumer to know offhand where the best rate available is posted. A hotel room will always have different rates on different booking sites.”

Meanwhile, hotels across the UAE are also noticing the trend of hotel bookings now moving online. Abu Dhabi-based Nehal Hotel reported that almost half of their rooms are now booked online.

General manager Samer Al Kabalan said: “The online travel industry in the Middle East is growing at a rapid pace. So far this year we have seen 45% of our bookings come from online sites.