Europe's online travel agency (OTA) landscape took numerous twists and turns in the first half of 2014. Two IPOs – eDreams ODIGEO and Bravofly Rumbo Group – demonstrated that flight-centric brands can turn a profit in what has historically been a relatively low-margin business. The activity also showed that the broader investment community remains open to challenging established global brands in a lucrative marketplace that generates more than €40 billion in annual bookings. While the two groups took a beating in their first months on the market, the listings could ignite a wave of additional European OTA listings and acquisitions. Responsive mobile platforms, loyalty programs, and traction with OTA-owned metasearch brands are also creating new avenues to win market share, while a new partnership between Travelport and low-cost carrier (LCC) Ryanair opened opportunities for new OTA revenue streams.
The legality of alternative accommodations remains questionable, but Airbnb and others have undoubtedly and profoundly disrupted the traditional accommodations model. Likewise, the launch of Instant Booking by TripAdvisor – now available to mobile users – could level the playing field when it comes to OTA-dominated metasearch marketing channels. Some of Europe's most established intermediaries including TUI Travel and Thomas Cook have also made headway with their online platforms. In efforts to diversify both its consumer and hotel customer value proposition, The Priceline Group, parent company of Booking.com, purchased restaurant booking site OpenTable and hotel marketing platform Buuteeq.
- Executive Summary
- Latest Industry Developments: Expect Turbulence
- Two April IPOs - potentially more on the way
- Ryanair opens wings to OTAs
- Still room for niche and local market players
- Booking beware? Europe’s old brands make inroads online
- Private accommodation makes waves, particularly with millennials
- TripAdvisor’s Instant Booking could change Europe’s meta game
- Rate parity ruling against HRS may cause ripple effect
- Four Reasons OTAs are booming in Europe
- Increased intermediation – but suppliers bite back
- New platforms, new opportunities
- Room to grow