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. Delivering this requires the collection and effective use of large amounts of personal data, which has significant cybersecurity implications. Technologies such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, Internet of Things, and cloud solutions are all growing in importance]. 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 personalisation in Travel: Location-based IM.

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.

Location-based IM is a key innovation area in personalisation

Location-based or location-aware search engines use a keyword-based and map-based interface to find and deliver information related to an address or a location. Location-based instant messaging platforms also help information providers like Yelp guide tourists to their desired location or areas of interest.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each location-based IM 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 location-based IM.

Key players in location-based IM – 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 location based instant messaging (IM)

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Airbnb 76 Unlock company profile
Apple 71 Unlock company profile
BookIT Finland 22 Unlock company profile
Alphabet 19 Unlock company profile
SoftBank Group 10 Unlock company profile
Oracle 7 Unlock company profile
International Business Machines 7 Unlock company profile
Toyota Motor 6 Unlock company profile
Kakao 6 Unlock company profile
Samsung Group 6 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Patent activity in the area of location-based search and instant messaging is dominated by technology and ride hailing players, with Apple filing for the highest number of patents over the last three years, followed by Uber and Didi. Some of Apple’s patents have clear tourism-related use cases such as location-based ticket booking, and dynamic location search suggestions based on travel itineraries. The most notable travel & tourism industry player to feature highly is Airbnb, which has filed to protect technologies related to (among others) location-based ranking of real-world locations, mapping preferred locations using multiple arrows, and distance-based social message pruning. Pruning is the act of removing content that has little value to the person viewing it, so by using distance/location data, the content viewer will only see content that is relevant to their current location, meaning they do not need to sift through irrelevant content to find what they are looking for.

The presence of companies like Apple and Airbnb shows there is an ecosystem around these technologies that involves the smartphone/OS developers, as well as companies whose apps are then run on those devices. To further understand the key personalisation and technologies disrupting the travel & tourism industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Personalization 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.