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 Innovation in Travel: Real-time ticket inventory management.

However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilising and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

20+ innovations will shape the travel & tourism industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the travel & tourism industry using innovation intensity models built on over 21,000 patents, there are 20+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, travel plan optimised charging and robo taxis are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Real-time ticket inventory management, LBS social networking, and smart itinerary planners are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are virtual touring interfaces, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the travel & tourism industry

Real-time ticket inventory management is a key innovation area in travel & tourism

Real-time inventory management is an automated process of recording sales, purchases and inventory through the use of various technologies that help process that data in real-time to provide an up-to-the-minute picture of inventory levels. In travel & tourism, this technology is used by hotels, airlines, but also by sites and attractions to effectively manage visitor volumes and improve the guest experience.

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 50+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established travel & tourism companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of real-time ticket inventory management.

Key players in real-time ticket inventory management – 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 real-time ticket inventory management

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Nant Holdings Ip 136 Unlock company profile
Didi Global 124 Unlock company profile
Flex 114 Unlock company profile
Nuro 112 Unlock company profile
Walmart 102 Unlock company profile
Toyota Motor 59 Unlock company profile
Live Nation Entertainment 55 Unlock company profile
Uber Technologies 38 Unlock company profile
Emerging Automotive 33 Unlock company profile
Amadeus IT Group 29 Unlock company profile
BookIT Finland 28 Unlock company profile
Xperi Holding 27 Unlock company profile
Alphabet 26 Unlock company profile
Samsung Group 21 Unlock company profile
Meta Platforms 21 Unlock company profile
Microsoft 21 Unlock company profile
Amtrust Financial Services 20 Unlock company profile
TESLA LABORATORIES 18 Unlock company profile
Sony Group 18 Unlock company profile
Operr Technologies 17 Unlock company profile
International Business Machines 17 Unlock company profile
Laundry 2.0 16 Unlock company profile
General Motors 15 Unlock company profile
GT Gettaxi 13 Unlock company profile
Evryx Acquisition 12 Unlock company profile
Quixey 12 Unlock company profile
PLDT 11 Unlock company profile
Flybits 11 Unlock company profile
Sita Information Networking Computing Ireland 10 Unlock company profile
Honda Motor 9 Unlock company profile
Baidu 9 Unlock company profile
Ford Motor 8 Unlock company profile
SoftBank Group 8 Unlock company profile
Oracle 8 Unlock company profile
United Air Lines 8 Unlock company profile
Rakuten Group 8 Unlock company profile
Xerox Holdings 8 Unlock company profile
Comcast 7 Unlock company profile
Qualcomm 7 Unlock company profile
Avis Budget Group 7 Unlock company profile
Bank of America 7 Unlock company profile
BlackBerry 7 Unlock company profile
Navitaire 7 Unlock company profile
Xiaomi 7 Unlock company profile
Gurunavi 6 Unlock company profile
Nissan Motor 6 Unlock company profile
Neutron Holdings 6 Unlock company profile
JetSmarter 6 Unlock company profile
OPTIMUM 6 Unlock company profile
Kwang Yang Motor 6 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Car manufacturer Toyota is the leading patent filer in this area as its technologies help companies operating fleets to track available inventory versus what is out on the road. For similar reasons, ride hailing provider Uber is also a leading assignee. Entertainment company Live Nation is also very active as one of the world’s leading event organisers and consequently ticket sellers. This technology is notable for the lack of travel & tourism companies filing for patents. In addition to the above companies, specialist tech firms such as Oracle, Alphabet, and SITA are active, suggesting that this is an area in which travel & tourism operators would prefer to partner with a specialist vendor rather than develop solutions in-house.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the travel & tourism industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Key Themes in Travel and Tourism for 2022.

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.