The online travel revolution of the last 10 years has led to substantial changes in the travel industry’s competitive environment, forcing companies to re-think their business models.
Consumers now play a much more central and active role in travel. To thrive in this increasingly challenging environment, travel companies need to be able to acquire more knowledge about their customers and redefine their brands through social media.
Technology players are essential partners for travel companies to help drive the online business, from new meta-search engines (Google), travel mobile apps (Apple) to exploring new possibilities of social ads (Facebook).
Online travel agencies have grown dynamically. While Expedia remained the largest player in 2011, Priceline is gaining ground and new important players are rising in Europe, China and India.
- Air transportation continues to be the most successful sector in online travel, with over 39% of total sales worldwide made online in 2011, amounting to US$241 billion.
- The US is the world leader in online travel reservations, with sales outperforming every other country in all travel sectors.
- China, India and Russia are expected to see significant growth in online travel sales over the next five years.
- The online travel retail market was led by Expedia in 2011 with sales reaching US$29 billion. However, Priceline gained ground in 2011 recording a 57% growth thanks to strong performances in Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America.