In the travel world, more and more companies are trying to take full advantage of the booking train, which provides some great benefit and a great source of revenue. Despite the fact that there are multiple travel booking websites right now, not all of them manage to bring in a lot of customers, and this is why during 2014 numerous acquisitions have happened. All of these are pointing towards the idea that the travel world brings in less and less booking websites, but these that do remain in existence are becoming stronger and stronger, something that’s very impressive.
So, who leads the top booking websites? There is no surprise here, because booking.com has been leading the pack for years, and the interesting thing is that it’s growing faster and faster despite the fact that the website is huge right now. The owner of booking.com, as well as agoda.com, priceline.com and Kayak websites is Priceline Group, and as a company, they are the leader by a very high margin, which is very impressive.
Another interesting thing is the fact that Airbnb is becoming more and more important in the travel booking experience, even though as a whole it offers a different experience when compared to other booking websites. The rapid growth and relative low cost can become a real threat to the profitable Online travel Agent model.
Other thing we need to focus on is the fact that hotels.com, which was once one of the websites with the fastest growth out there, now has a flat growth, which in the end it was to be expected, considering the lack of features recently.
The TripAdvisor websites are coming in second place, and since the network has received a nice makeover, all these sites have managed to bring in a lot of revenue. Expedia sites have a smaller number of visitors, but they do rack up the third place. Another thing to note here is the fact that the Skyscanner websites are becoming more important, since they broke top 10 and they are growing more and more.
OTAs are very popular due to the ease of use that they provide, and at the same time the hoteliers have started to become more and more dependent on them because of that.
But maybe the most important thing in this top is the fact that more and more larger companies are purchasing the smaller ones. As an example Accor bought Fast Bookings, Oracle bought Micros and Expedia acquired Travelocity, Wotif Group as well as Orbitz, as their effort to grow larger and larger.
Booking.com’s owner Priceline also purchased numerous other companies, including Hotel Ninjas, Buutique and will not stop their vertical integration in the online market.
As you can clearly see, the online market reduces its number of players exponentially, a trend that will most likely continue from 2015 onwards. The NASDAQ recently peaked since the crash 15 years ago but Instead of the one day flies .com companies from then, are now solid companies like Priceline, Apple and Google, among others. They are continually dominating the market and becoming more and more important. What can we expect? Less booking websites and a higher quality from those that already exist, as they try to help the users get an even better experience.