A lot can be said about the travel industry, from the ongoing mergers and acquisitions to new trends we expect this year.
Skift.com interviewed travel industry experts to give travel merchant account owners and customers reasonable clues into what 2020 will be like.
Here is what came out
- Mergers and Acquisitions
Amazon Takes over Expedia: Amazon has been eyeing the travel niche with its Amazon Pay Cash for some time. And now, rumor has it that the giant retail firm is planning to swallow Expedia, which has been struggling to cope with Google Travel. And with its rich pool of resources, Amazon may turn things around.
Trip.com swallows TripAdvisor: In the meantime, Trip.com Group, formerly known as Ctrip, has also entered a combined business with TripAdvisor last year. While the latter has been improving its tour and hotel booking services, its Accommodation & Vacation Rental division is still lagging. Hopefully, Trip.com will come to its rescue and steal its dominance.
— Dennis Schaal, Executive Editor
- Airbnb won’t offer flights just yet
A 2016 slip-up in Airbnb’s press release has raised hopes among customers and market players.
But analysts say, the dream will remain far-fetched for Airbnb unless it revises its business model.
Offering package travel in a highly-regulated European travel market requires a firm that is willing to accept some liabilities— and Airbnb is still not ready for that.
–Patrick Whyte, Europe Editor
- United States’ Airline Sector to evolve
Mergers and consolidations always have an impact on markets. With 4 leading travel firms and another promising one (Alaska) following closely, the United States’ airline sector will definitely evolve. Smaller and new players, in particular, will come in to occupy niches left by established firms.
New players will likely take on fresh aircraft technologies to serve markets marginalized by mergers.
— Jay Shabat, Airline Weekly Senior Analyst
- Curtains falling for NY’s JetBlue Airways
JetBlue, New York’s long-serving airline and the 6th-largest airline in the US, is not competing favorably in a market controlled by major carriers.
Many markets still consider it an addendum despite stretching its presence to South Florida and Boston, owning up to 250 aircraft.
Many analysts see it as a bull’s eye for bigger travel firms like United Airlines, West Coast, Southwest, and Alaska Airlines, each who would benefit from its acquisition in one way or another.
- Salesforce to join Travel
Salesforce, a CRM or customer relationship management solution, has other things in mind. First, it wants to turn into a SaaS or software-as-a-service business dealing with people, payroll, accounting.
And just like its competitors like SAS and Oracle, who both acquired hotel-related companies (IDeaS and Micros), Salesforce may also venture into Travel, in particular, business travel.
Salesforce allows salespersons to follow up on leads. And now, Salestrip improves that tech to enable businesses to keep the cost of travel by salespersons proportionate to the likely customer value.
So we may see Salesforce target a hotel CRM service like Cendyn or Navis.
— Sean O’Neill, Travel Tech Editor
These are some of the trends we expect to see in Travel this year and beyond. But these are only predictions from travel industry market analysts; many other factors may impact Travel in 2020 and beyond.
Author Bio: Blair Thomas has been a music producer, bouncer, screenwriter, and for over a decade, the proud Co-Founder of eMerchantBroker, the highest-rated travel merchant account provider in the country. He has climbed in the Himalayas, survived a hurricane, and lived on a gold mine in the Yukon. He currently calls Thailand his home with a lifetime collection of his favorite books.