The digital travel business is booming — the latest figures from stats site Statista show that global digital travel sales amount to an impressive $564.87 billion.
So it’s no wonder that over the past few years, several innovative startup firms have made sterling efforts to cut themselves a lucrative slice of the pie.
Good entrepreneurial chops are necessary to launch an enterprise, but it takes discipline and foresight to sustain success.
If you’re interested in business across borders, here are three online travel firms to watch.
Flight comparison site Skyscanner was founded in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 2003 and it’s now one of the world’s biggest travel websites, attracting over 50 million users each month.
It remained independent through three rounds of investment funding — taking £4 million from Scottish Equity Partners in 2007, an unknown amount from Sequoia Capital in 2013 when its value was $800 million and $192 million in a fundraising push in December 2015.
In November 2016, its was sold to Chinese online travel giants Ctrip for £1.74 billion — not bad for a company that started from humble beginnings.
With a four out of five stars rating on Trustpilot, fans praise the site’s speed, simplicity and propensity for generating great last-minute deals.
2. The Booking Factory
Hotel management platform The Booking Factory was started in 2104 by married couple Evan and Tikky Davies and has raised £300,000 of seed funding over two rounds so far.
Billing itself as an ‘all-in-one tech solution for small hotels’, the platform streamlines bookings, cancellations, check-ins, departures and amendments — and makes it simple to review occupancy and revenue channels in order to adjust pricing and marketing tactics in an agile manner.
By automating time-consuming admin tasks, it allows smaller establishments with limited staff numbers to operate efficiently.
It’s a relative newcomer in the market, but worth keeping a keen eye on for investors.
When you’re looking to stow your car safely before catching a flight in the US or practically anywhere else worldwide, airport parking comparison site Looking4.com has a 93 per cent customer recommendation rating on Reevoo.
The site boasted 800,000 visitors last year and has recently been purchased by Manchester Airport Group (MAG) for an undisclosed sum.
MAG were keen to tap into the digital company’s extensive network of distribution channels, as well as absorbing their tech expertise.
Firms like this which have a simple and straightforward model and deliver excellent user experiences often punch above their weight in the worldwide travel market — providing valuable business lessons for those that arrive in their wake.
These three online travel companies which excel at doing business across borders prove that, when it comes to commercial success, the sky’s the limit for small but determined operators.
Which online travel companies do you use? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.