The adoption of e-commerce has helped several industries drive sales and achieve unprecedented targets. The convergence of e-commerce with the travel & tourism industry has helped the various players in it accomplish the same results and has opened up new avenues for those who like to travel.
According to a report by YoStartups, the startups in the travel and tourism segment enjoyed a 30.5% increase in investments from 2014 to 2018. The popularity in adopting e-commerce in the travel and tourism sector, however, is very scattered with some of the tourist hotspots still lacking in a strong e-commerce framework for travel and tourism, according to the same report.
The rise in investments has been steady from 2014 through 2018, with the total amounts touching a minimum of $3 billion since 2015. The sub-sector received the maximum investment amount in 2017 and 2018; however, the number of deals remained the lowest in these same two years.
The e-commerce segment in travel and tourism is mainly characterized by hotel aggregator websites, online ticketing platforms, and websites offering tour packages. The shift to web or app-based platform for availing travel and tourism services is a clear indicator of the wide acceptance and growth of e-commerce in travel and tourism.
Let us look at some of the notable travel and tourism e-commerce startups around the world.
Upgrade Pack is a disruptive loyalty reward program platform and is among the youngest startups in the travel and tourism e-commerce arena. It was co-founded by Craig Unsworth and Urchana Moudgil in 2018 and is making it easier for all kind of travelers to get a travel upgrade. Upgrade Pack offers its services through its user-friendly app that is a dynamic online marketplace for unsold travel inventory. It benefits both travelers and travel service providers like hotels and airline companies facilitating them to drive impressive revenues. The company is based in London and also made news for being the first tech company in the UK to offer equity to all its employees.
Know more about this top travel tech startup in London
London based travel and tourism e-commerce startup Selina offers a host of travel related services on its web-based platform. Selina was co-founded Daniel Rudasevski and Rafael Museri in 2012 and has secured $245 million in funding till date. The company aims to create a network of accommodation facilities that encourages in building a global community of travelers. Selina offers not just accommodation facilities but also helps its users find co-working spaces, arranges for local experiences, wellness facilities, and helps with creating tour packages as well. The company calls itself an ‘ecosystem of nomads’ and is a one of a kind company in the global travel and tourism e-commerce segment.
Know more about this top travel and tourism e-commerce company in London
GetYourGuide is a Berlin based travel tech startup that was co-founded by Tobias Rein, Jochen Mattes, Johannes Reck, Pascal Mathis, and Martin Sieber in 2009. The startup has created a platform that allows travelers to book experiences in cities around the world. This helps the users eliminate lines and enjoy the best local attractions hassle-free. GetYourGuide offers packages and tours for close to 50 cities across the globe. The website is available in more than 20 languages, and lets users browse the activities and packages in over 30 currency options. The innovative travel and tourism e-commerce startup has made 2 acquisitions and picked up $170.5 million in funding till date.
Know more about this innovative travel e-commerce startup in Berlin
JetSmarter is an online marketplace for private jet services. The Florida based platform offers its services through a mobile application which offers opportunities to travel via private jet at unbeatable prices. The app has managed to create a unique private aviation community and has brought about a revolutionary change in how private jets operate and function. JetSmarter was founded by Sergey Petrossov in 2012 and is among the top unicorn companies in the travel and tourism e-commerce segment. Users can also opt for enrolling in a membership plan which also offers an array of benefits in the form of discounts and an array of benefits.
Know more about this top travel e-commerce startup in Florida
San Francisco based HoteTonight is an online hotel booking mobile application. The application offers the best deals on hotel rooms to its users and has become a hit owing to the amazing deals it offers even for last minute bookings. HotelTonight was co-founded by Christopher Bailey, Sam Shank and Jared Simon in 2010 and is an ideal hotel aggregator service for all kinds of travelers. It has made one acquisition since it was launched in 2011 and has raised $117.7 million in funding from the likes of Ace Partners, GGV Capital, and Coatue Management among the other prominent investors.
Know more about this top hotel aggregator startup in San Francisco
Top Countries for Travel and Tourism E-commerce
The increased disposable incomes and the availability of travelling and accommodation facilities in a diverse price range have made travelling for leisure an increasingly common habit. The e-commerce intervention in the travel and tourism sector has further propelled this growth. According to a report by YoStartups, the top three countries to have received maximum funding in 2018 are Singapore, the US, and France. Singapore takes the lead with total investments amounting to over $3 billion and is followed by the US who total investments in 2018 capped at less than half a million dollars.
However, if we talk about how much e-commerce has benefited travel and tourism, Singapore and India are the finest examples in the lot. Let us look at the travel and tourism e-commerce sector in each of these countries in detail.
The overall e-commerce market in Singapore is one of the largest ones in the world. It is estimated to touch $10 billion by 2020 growing at a rate of 11.7%. Travel and tourism is another one of the fast-growing sectors in the country that has grown at an exceptional rate in the last five years. Online hotel aggregators like hotels.com, expedia.com, and agoda.com are some of the top players that are shaping the newly converged e-commerce and travel and tourism sectors. According to research done by YoStartups, e-tail and online marketplace are the prominent categories in for e-commerce in travel and tourism.
India’s travel and tourism sector benefitted highly with the application of e-commerce solutions. The technological revolution in the country has a lot to do with this. The Indian travel and tourism industry also found a boost with the growing interest in medical tourism from people around the world. The online travel sub-sector holds the largest share in the larger e-commerce industry in the Indian startup economy. The main contributors of the sub-sector are online ticketing services for the railways’ network and for airlines. The availability of safe and convenient fintech options has acted as an important catalyst for travel and tourism e-commerce to develop in the country.
Upcoming Trends in the Global Travel and Tourism E-commerce Industry in 2019
The increasing popularity for opting for online travel services will most likely bring in new aspects of travelling and especially in the processes involved in getting these services. A lot of new travel and tourism e-commerce startups are on the rise catering to various broad as well as niche needs. Let us look at some of the upcoming trends for 2019.
Hotel and travel inventory for last minute bookings will be expected to increase to make the most of last-minute ticketing and hotel needs that arise.
The use of AI and chatbots for the web-based and app-based platforms are also expected to rise to help cater to the needs of the users by understanding what they want and offering them the best of travel solutions.
The use of AR and VR on hotel aggregator platforms will also be on the rise. This will help in tackling any false or misleading images provided by websites.
Keeping the continuous technological advancement in mind, it will become imperative for online travel and tourism websites to stay abreast of all the technological advancements to stay in the competition. The competition in the industry is bound to increase provided there is an increase in internet penetration and in the disposable income. Online travel and tourism is yet to grow in several regions around the world which see a large tourist footfall each year.
Read in detail about the e-commerce industry here.
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