Exploring the Future of Global Travel

It’s no longer acceptable for travel sites to ask if a holiday is “cheaper” than flying from London to Mexico, while taking a gamble on what will remain available for all-inclusive cruises once the capacity crunch hits.

Even the biggest players are gearing up to take the threat to global travel planning seriously.

Alongside a refreshed strategy for a future of sustainable growth, Expedia (NASDAQ: EXPE) just revealed that it’s investing $750 million in a host of new technologies and initiatives for its travel business.

With the global cruise industry looking like the single most exciting sector to invest in in the cruise market as an industry, the message is loud and clear: global travel is looking healthier than it has done for a long time.

Even though large global cruise ships are forecast to continue to struggle in the near-term, large-scale cruise tourism continues to grow, driven by appetite from emerging markets. These trends have given travel providers like Royal Caribbean (NYSE: RCL) a massive boost, given it caters to these destinations as well as large-scale destinations in North America.

But it’s not just cruise lines that are at the forefront of these changes. The big industry players are also evolving to better meet the desires of consumers.

Expedia and Priceline Are Taking Their Battles to the Skies

As both Expedia and Priceline (NASDAQ: PCLN) have seen gains in their share prices, in line with their international business over the last two years, the battle for growth has shifted to the skies as well.

While they’ve done well in their own European markets, Expedia has struggled in areas of the United States, like New York. And when you include both of these regions, the company reported revenues of $9.4 billion for the first quarter of 2016, up just 1 percent from the same period last year.

But that’s not the entire story.

Expedia has been investing in its global air travel business in a bid to prepare for rising demand. When you look at the market share numbers, it looks like the big players have done a pretty good job with things.

In recent months, the likes of United (NYSE: UAL) have announced increased capacity for destinations around the world. It has also announced plans for the latest round of flights to be announced, looking to capitalize on capacity growth at some of the most popular destinations for tourists.

Priceline, meanwhile, recently announced plans for a new air transport venture as it looks to take on Airbnb (Private:AIRB). With a presence in 80 countries, Priceline wants to deliver a better travel experience in areas that have been previously overlooked. It looks like this move is working out, with Airbnb seeing a recent drop in market value of over 4 percent, partly as a result of the threat it poses to the room-renting market.

All of this comes at the same time that aviation giants have also been investing heavily and every new casino that comes online resembles a general move towards digitisation.

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