The future of the travel & tourism industry will be shaped by a range of disruptive themes, with online travel being one of the themes that will have a significant impact on travel intermediaries. 

Globally, travellers are increasingly online and more mobile savvy than ever before. Concurrently, global online travel intermediaries (online travel agents, tour operators, and other providers) saw their market value experience rapid growth (CAGR 2015–19: 9.3%). By 2025, online travel market value is projected to reach $765.3bn (CAGR 2021–25: 15.1%) as travellers increasingly switch to online travel intermediaries over in-store travel agents.  

The needs of travellers are constantly evolving and as a result, online travel intermediaries will have to change and adapt to meet future demands. Within the online travel industry, there has been an increasing focus on personalisation by online market players as loyalty to a particular brand is being replaced by a traveller’s loyalty to their own preferences. In addition, social media has become a strategic channel for marketing and customer service. With this, Big Data, travel apps, artificial intelligence, and machine learning play a major role in online travel companies’ strategies, with leading players investing heavily in these areas.  

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However, not all companies are equal when it comes to their capabilities and investments in the key themes that matter most to their industry. Understanding how companies are positioned and ranked in the most important themes can be a key leading indicator of their future earnings potential and relative competitive position.  

According to GlobalData’s thematic research report, Online Travel in Travel & Tourism, leading adopters include: Airbnb, Expedia, Booking Holdings, Despegar, TripAdvisor, MakeMyTrip, Trip.com, Seera, Intrepid Group, Flight Centre Travel Group and Jet2.  

Insights from top ranked companies  

Airbnb 

Airbnb was once identified as a disruptor in the travel and tourism landscape but is now a major leader in the themes of online travel and personalisation. Active since 2008, the site now lists more than five million rooms, flats, and houses in almost every country across the globe. Early adoption in innovative technologies such as the cloud, AI, and Big Data have aided its successes in personalising content, driving satisfaction from both its customers and hosts on its online platform. 

Expedia 

Expedia Group is one of the world’s largest travel platforms. A combination of 16 brands, Expedia is a major online travel agency (OTA) that offers travellers an array of services that enable them to book or search for holiday packages, flights, hotels, rental cars, rail journeys, cruises, activities, attractions, and services. Consistently acquiring more businesses alongside forming partnerships with hotels and businesses, Expedia is a key leader within the online travel industry. Expedia Group Media Solutions, the digital marketing arm of Expedia Group, analyses first-party data to understand traveller behaviour, working in collaboration with destination management organisations (DMOs) and other stakeholders to provide actionable insights and creative campaigns. 

Booking Holdings 

Booking Holdings is recognised as one of the largest operating OTAs worldwide, providing services to customers and partners in over 220 countries and territories through its six-primary consumer-facing brands—Booking.com, Kayak, Priceline, Agoda, RentalCars, and OpenTable. The company has long been working towards creating the ‘connected trip’, a channel that focuses on curating traveller’s experiences through one central platform offering personalised and individual recommendations. 

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Online Travel in Travel & Tourism.   

  • eDreams
  • TUI
  • GetYourGuide
  • G Adventures
  • Secret Escapes
  • Tuniu
  • On the Beach Group
  • Hays Travel

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

GlobalData’s Thematic Scorecard ranks companies within a sector based on their overall leadership in the 10 themes that matter most to their industry, generating a leading indicator of their future earnings and relative position within key strategic areas.