Travel Technology Providers Landscape
Back in 2011, Scott Brinker, a marketing technology analyst, has unveiled his first version of the Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic with about 150 companies. In 2020, this Supergraphic grew to about 8,000 companies and has become a desk companion for every marketer out there.
So in 2018, we at AltexSoft decided that the travel tech sector deserved a similar map. The first version of the Travel Technology Providers Landscape consisted of 162 providers within ten travel tech product categories. Since then, we’ve received tons of feedback from readers and travel tech professionals about the companies we’d missed, and justifiably so. Below, you will find the updated version with 401 providers in thirteen categories. You are also free to read our transcript decoding the players on the map and what got updated since its first version.
How to use the infographic:
- Click on the image to open it in a new tab.
- To explore the providers directly, you can use the spreadsheet at the very end of the article where the companies are grouped by categories and alphabetically with links to their websites.
Transcript – What’s on the infographic?
Scott Brinker inspired not just us, but professionals from pretty much every field: There are technology landscapes for big data, procurement, maritime, blockchain, sales, human resources, and many more. Many appreciated the way one graphic is able to visualize the structure and diversity of industry technologies. But as the graphic is updated, it acquires another value – the ability to pinpoint how and when new software appears on the market.
So, when creating a new version of the Travel Tech Providers Landscape, we had the following goals:
- formulating the categories of travel tech products and listing the main market players,
- preserving the current state of the field and following its changes over time, and
- helping market entrants easily navigate the travel technology ecosystem.
According to these goals, we’ve identified thirteen product categories.
Hospitality property management
Also known as property management systems (PMS), these solutions are used by hoteliers and vacation rental owners to fulfill reservation and administrative tasks for the property. Probably our graphic’s largest category, PMS products target different both hotels (Oracle, Cloudbeds) and vacation rental owners (Hostaway, Lodgify), can have plenty of features (Hotelogix) or be minimalistic (Mews), can be listed in its own (Chorum) or bundled up with other products (WuBook). We’ve also included prominent players that have PMS capabilities that must be integrated with core systems, such as concierge service Vouch and front-desk software GuestDiary.
Hospitality connectivity and distribution
This category hosts products that help deliver rooms to the end customer via a complex distribution flow. This includes:
- channel managers by SiteMinder, RateTiger, and more that help hoteliers and the like to post their offers on many websites from one platform;
- metasearch engines (Kayak, Google Hotel Ads, and TripAdvisor) that consolidate tons of offers across the web for easy comparison;
- new direct distribution players such as Impala, Katanox, and HyperGuest; and
- data mapping tools such as GIATA and Gimmonix, crucial for adequate data exchange, landed in this category as well.
Hotel reservation systems
Operating at the heart of a hotel, a central reservation system handles availability, rates, and inventory data, used to manage bookings. Often integrated with a channel manager, a CRS can be included with a PMS (eZee, D-Edge) or purchased independently (Sabre SynXis, OTRAMS, Pegasus).
Revenue management systems
We felt like revenue management solutions deserved a separate category, even though they sometimes come with a PMS out of the box. As explained in our thematic video, revenue management is the number one tool for hotel success, applying data analytics to make predictions and automate price optimization. Duetto, Cendyn, and IDeaS are some of the prominent market players.
Wholesalers and bedbanks
Hotel wholesalers buy rooms in bulk at discounted prices and resell them to OTAs, travel agents, and other distributors. The market is relatively small with a few leaders such as Hotelbeds, WebBeds, and HProTravel.
Global distribution systems (GDSs)
Sabre, Amadeus, and Travelport stand as a never-changing monoliths in the travel technology ecosystem. Although there are dozens of GDSs in the world, these three own over 90 percent of the market and keep expanding their distribution reach with growing numbers of agreements with airlines and hotel room sellers.
Airline reservation systems
Similar to hotel CRSs, airline reservation systems store information about a carrier’s inventory, fares, schedules, PNRs, e-tickets, etc. Many airlines use CRSs provided by a GDS (Amadeus Altea, Navitaire, SabreSonic), but there are popular independent providers, too, including SITA Horizon, Radixx, Kiu, and more.
Airline schedules, pricing, and information providers
There are global connectivity solutions that provide technical or specific flight data. For example, Cirium and OAG provide flight scheduling information, ATPCO and Skyscanner provide fares, and SITA is useful for airport, baggage, and boarding data.
Airline operations management providers
Also called MRO (maintenance, repair, and operations) solutions, software for airlines includes a wide range of services from scheduling and load control to crew management and maintenance documentation. These products come both from big aviation companies, such as Airbus’ Navblue and Lufthansa Systems, and also from specialized providers such as IBS Software, AMS, and Coforge.
Consolidators are aviation’s bedbanks, serving as middlemen for flight distribution. Providing bargain prices for resellers, they have been relevant for decades. Most of them, including Picasso, Centrav, GTT Global, and more, have been around since the 1980s, though the undisputed leader in North America is Mondee Group.
Business travel and expense management
The world of business travel management has been transformed the most since the start of the pandemic. And our selection of players includes different categories of corporate travel providers: There are traditional travel management companies such as Egencia and American Express GBT; productivity software organizations such as Tripgrid; expense management software from TripActions; and even an innovative blockchain-based marketplace from Winding Tree.
Online travel agencies
OTAs shape the modern travel experience. There are so many online booking sites that they may deserve their own graph. There are classic hotel search OTAs such as Booking.com, Expedia, Trip.com, and Despegar and agencies for alternative accommodations including Airbnb, Vrbo, Vacasa, and HostelWorld. Many popular brands are owned by Booking Holdings and Expedia Group, but smaller, local OTAs like Yatra (India), eDreams (Spain and Europe), and Webjet (Australia and New Zealand) are just as influential in their respective markets.
Tours and attractions products
T&A providers cover a wide range of travel activities, from organizing, consolidating, and selling tours to offering event and museum tickets. Tour providers can use these platforms to reach target audiences while tourists get to easily access excursions from centralized apps. While global travel companies like Airbnb, TripAdvisor, and even Marriott offer some kind of T&A functionality, there are tons of specialized services, including GetYourGuide, WithLocals, Klook, and many more.
As you explore the graphic, you will notice that the same company names pop up in different categories, especially when it comes to B2B operations. But at the same time, the travel sector, despite the past crisis years, has welcomed tons of niche startups, aiming to solve particular business or traveler problems. We’ve tried to represent them on the graph as well. It will be interesting to see, how both these company groups evolve over the years. For now, let’s analyze what changed since the 2018 installment of the travel tech landscape.
Evolution – Updating the travel tech landscape
There are a few crucial changes that we made to the first version of the graphic. Let’s go through them.
The shift from hotels to all hospitality providers. In 2018, two big categories that the graph covered were hotel software and airline software. These two types of businesses remain the biggest ones in terms of solution availability. But in 2022, we can’t ignore that alternative accommodations – vacation homes and short-term rentals used by tourists and business folk alike – have become just as prominent as traditional hotels. Especially after the pandemic started. The short-term rental market actually surpassed its 2019 occupation levels. So we expanded our hotel software sections with products for alternative accommodations that are becoming all the more relevant.
Acquisitions and market shifts. There were a few interesting changes regarding acquisitions:
- The wholesaler market may be turning into an oligopoly: Destinations of the World was bought by WebBeds, Hotelbeds acquired TouricoHolidays, and HotelsPro is now known under the brand of HProTravel, which also owns MetGlobal.
- Changes also happened among airline information providers – now FlightStats and Innovata are owned by Cirium.
- A new prominent hospitality solutions developer – D-Edge – was created by AccorHotels from acquiring FastBooking and Availpro. It currently serves around 17,000 hotels in more than 100 countries.
- TravelClick, a revenue management system provider, was acquired by Amadeus for $1.52B.
OTAs added. When we thought out the first version of the graph, we wanted it to represent the B2B market. Today, we understand how limited it is without players that shape the travel experience of today – online travel agencies. Some of them – namely Booking.com and Expedia – even have robust hotel management tools for partner property owners, so they serve both in B2B and B2C sectors.
T&A providers added. We created another category for the under-represented market of tours and attractions. There are currently 18 players, though we can predict the list will be growing in the future. Many of the companies here are startups that recently secured significant funding – GetYourGuide added $97M, KKday raised $75M, Peek secured $80M – all in 2020 and 2021. These and other changes are a great segue into the next section where we’ll try to pinpoint emerging trends and predict how the travel tech landscape changes.
Emerging trends and predictions
What can we expect from the next version of the graph? Well, first, it will only get bigger. More companies and solutions will emerge to meet the changing market demand and solve new and existing problems. We can pinpoint a few types of products that may appear on the landscape soon.
The appearance of sustainability providers. Airlines and hotels contribute to many environmental problems, each in its own way. To minimize their impact, travel businesses can use sustainability technology for resource management, fuel usage optimization, waste tracking and forecasting, and many more. The more companies decide to market themselves as eco-conscious and the more regulations are imposed on them, the more we will see the emergence of such software and its rapid growth.
Workation products will enter the business travel market. Business travel didn’t go anywhere over the last few years, but it changed drastically. Today, business travelers are not just the ones visiting a city for a few days to meet a client, but digital nomads, who move to a more attractive location to work remotely. The trend for workations will keep growing and we will likely see providers targeted towards workationers and those who provide travel services to them.
Self-service experiences will prevail. Contactless, smart, and automated are some of the words used to describe travel that can be experienced without an agent or a clerk. From check-in and baggage check kiosks in airports and hotel lobbies to room keys available via an app and robot room service, there are tons of opportunities for growth here. And just as many existing smart travel implementations. Guest experience in general is an interesting category that might get its own section of the graph in the future as there are many niche solutions that can elevate people’s airport experience, flight, or hotel stay.
Let us know in the comments what you think the graph is currently lacking and what trends you can pinpoint from it. We’ll keep all suggestions in mind when working on the next iteration.