Companies in this industry arrange travel and traveler accommodations and include travel agents, tour operators, and other travel services like time-share exchanges, visitors bureaus, and ticket offices. Major companies include American Express Travel, Carlson Wagonlit, Expedia, Priceline, and Sabre Holdings (all based in the US), as well as BCD Travel (the Netherlands), Thomas Cook (UK), and TUI Travel (Germany).
Demand is driven by business and leisure travel, which depends on the economy. The profitability of individual companies depends on marketing. Large companies have an advantage in being able to provide a wider range of services, especially to corporate customers, and to afford sophisticated websites. Small companies can compete effectively by providing service to a few large customers, specializing in a service niche, or serving a local market. The US industry is fragmented: the 50 largest companies account for about 45% of revenue.
PRODUCTS, OPERATIONS & TECHNOLOGY
Major services are reservations or tickets for airline flights and lodging, as well as leisure cruises and packaged tours. Commissions and fees for reservation and travel services -- including domestic and international airline reservations, hotel reservations, and tickets for cruise ships -- account for about 55% of industry revenue. Other major revenue-generating services include trip planning (12% of industry revenue), tour arrangements (another 12%), and event tickets (9%).