The future of online travel belongs to those who prepare today

Sébastien Gibergues

Head of Leisure and Online Travel, Global Customers, Travel Channels, Amadeus

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It’s natural for human beings to avoid change. We ignore uncertain situations in the hope of maintaining the status quo. But change is inevitable and the unforeseen can or often does occur, whether it’s a ‘Black Swan’ event, which is an occurrence that deviates beyond what is normally expected of a situation and is extremely difficult to predict or the emergence of new competitors, we must all be prepared to respond. In our latest research paper, Online Travel 2020: Evolve, Expand or Expire, we looked at a number of scenarios or possible futures over the next three to five years in order to help online travel players prepare for unpredictable ‘Black Swan’ events.


What the future may hold

We used scenario planning methodology to map trends and to devise likely sequences of events that paint a picture of what the future may hold. We have identified the evolution of the following scenarios based on existing trends and selected factors:

  • The rise of mega online travel retailers: The consolidation between OTA and metasearch business models, as well as the rise of online advertising, could lead to a new kind of online travel retailer.
  • Introducing digital tour operators: Traditional Tour Operators and OTAs may merge to become the ultimate travel seller. From handling complex trips to servicing with new -generation travel stores, Digital Travel Operators could provide a happy mix of digital and human interaction to create a personalised travel experience.
  • The rise of more sophisticated mobile travel retailers: Imagine an addictive mobile travel agency app that accompanies the traveller along the entire journey. Rather than being a complementary distribution channel, mobile could become the only means of distribution and the only app a traveller needs – or wants.
  • The new travel marketplace: With more and more leading IT players and e-Commerce giants creating demand for new and innovative platforms, the players of the travel industry could come together and build their own Travel Marketplace platform for OTAs, airlines, hotels, and other travel-related companies to sell their products and services.

These disruptors can be the nemesis or the vehicle to success for online travel players. So the question is: what should they be doing today if a particular future was to happen?

Technology transformation required

We’re continuing to invest in delivering more content, travel search and merchandising technology to help you deliver the ultimate online travel purchasing experience. With many projects under way, we provide the necessary building blocks to accompany your business into the future. So, who do you want to be four years from now? Which future are you going to embrace and how are you going to adapt?

Download your free copy ofOnline Travel 2020: Evolve, Expand or Expireand contact your Amadeus Account Manager or Sales Representative for further information.


Traveler Experience, Multimodal Travel, Research