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 and this has significant cybersecurity implications. Technologies such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, the 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 Innovation in Travel: Reservation system database 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+ reservation system database managements 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 is virtual touring interfaces, which is now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the travel & tourism industry

Reservation system database management is a key innovation area in travel & tourism

Reservation & online booking systems allow businesses to manage reservations, requests and bookings made online, often from multiple vendors on multiple platforms. Reservation management systems facilitate dynamic pricing strategies, inventory management, and improve the booking experience for guests or passengers.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each reservation system database management and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 20+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established travel & tourism companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of reservation system database management.

Key players in reservation system database 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 reservation system database management

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Flex 114 Unlock company profile
Nuro 112 Unlock company profile
Walmart 101 Unlock company profile
Amadeus IT Group 39 Unlock company profile
adidas 27 Unlock company profile
Amadeus 18 Unlock company profile
Didi Global 18 Unlock company profile
Gurunavi 17 Unlock company profile
Airbnb 16 Unlock company profile
Trip.com Group 10 Unlock company profile
Toyota Motor 10 Unlock company profile
Winnow Solutions 9 Unlock company profile
Guest-Tek Interactive Entertainment 9 Unlock company profile
Alphabet 8 Unlock company profile
SoftBank Group 7 Unlock company profile
Recruit Holdings 6 Unlock company profile
OPTIMUM 6 Unlock company profile
Grab Holdings 5 Unlock company profile
Sabre 5 Unlock company profile
Toast 5 Unlock company profile
Enterprise Holdings 5 Unlock company profile
NEC 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

As a leading IT provider to the travel & tourism industry, it is no surprise to see that Amadeus filed for the highest number of patents in this area in 2021. The Spanish giant, whose global distribution system (Gds) is used in hotels across the world, has applied to protect (among other innovations) a method and system for centralised reservation context management on a multi-server reservation system. A leading rival of Amadeus, Sabre, is also innovating in the area of reservation system database management, which is again unsurprising given its position as one of the ‘big three’ Gds providers. Travel intermediaries are not heavily involved in patent activity in this area, but Airbnb and Trip.com, both of which have built a reputation for being strong innovators, have filed 16 and 10 patent applications since 2015, respectively. With an increasing number of bookings for travel now taking place online, there is an ever-growing need for highly effective and user-friendly reservation management systems, which means we will continue to see innovation in this space, likely spearheaded by specialist providers of these systems.

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.