The travel & tourism industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by a greater desire from consumers for personalised offerings that heighten the traveller experience, as well as an increased focus on value among an increasingly constrained traveller base. The growing importance of technologies such as machine learning, big data analytics, cloud solutions, and cybersecurity is evident. In the last three years alone, there have been over 15,000 patents filed and granted in the travel & tourism industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Internet of Things in Travel: Hotel inventory tracking systems.

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 21,000 patents to analyse innovation intensity for the travel & tourism industry, there are 20+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Hotel inventory tracking systems is a key innovation area in Internet of Things

Automated hotel inventory management systems use real-time tracking technology to help hoteliers distribute rooms efficiently. Historically static allocation methods were used, in which employees manually enter inventory. This increases the possibility of human error and relies on humans to update inventory frequently, something which may not always be possible. Automated inventory management systems eliminate the need for this and also reduce the scope for error.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 10 companies, spanning technology vendors, established travel & tourism companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of hotel inventory tracking systems.

Key players in hotel inventory tracking systems – a disruptive innovation in the travel & tourism industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to hotel inventory tracking systems

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Nuro 113 Unlock company profile
Walmart 101 Unlock company profile
SoftBank Group 24 Unlock company profile
Middleby 15 Unlock company profile
Starbucks 12 Unlock company profile
HelloFactory 10 Unlock company profile
Baidu 10 Unlock company profile
Biomerica 9 Unlock company profile
Mobilitie 8 Unlock company profile
International Consolidated Airlines Group 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Specialist travel tech vendor Amadeus is the leading assignee in the area of hotel inventory management patents, which is unsurprising as its global distribution and revenue management systems underpin the hotel booking systems of many hotels globally. Many of the patents that Amadeus has had granted relate to the identification of maximum available inventory. While Trip.com (Ctrip) is present as a leading assignee, it is something of an outlier as this area is dominated by tech specialists rather than industry players. The presence of Chinese companies and patents being granted by the Chinese patent office is noteworthy. Beijing Sankuai Cloud Computing Technology, Beijing Sankuai Online Technologies, and Beijing Yunji Technology are all leading assignees.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the travel & tourism industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Internet of Things (IoT) in Travel and Tourism.

GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.