The travel & tourism industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by a greater desire from consumers for personalised offerings that heighten the traveller experience, as well as an increased focus on value among an increasingly constrained traveller base. The growing importance of technologies such as machine learning, big data analytics, cloud solutions, and cybersecurity is evident. In the last three years alone, there have been over 15,000 patents filed and granted in the travel & tourism industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Innovation in Travel: Dynamic pricing-based ticketing.
However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilising and reaching maturity.
Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.
20+ innovations will shape the travel & tourism industry
According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the travel & tourism industry using innovation intensity models built on over 21,000 patents, there are 20+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.
Within the emerging innovation stage, real time ticket inventory management systems and hotel inventory tracking systems are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. LBS social networking, and smart itinerary planners are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are virtual touring interfaces, which are now well established in the industry.
Innovation S-curve for the travel & tourism industry
Dynamic pricing-based ticketing is a key innovation area in travel & tourism
Dynamic pricing is a strategy of changing ticket prices for different customers, often based on supply and demand dynamics. The price varies intentionally to not only maximise the overall revenue profit, but also to appeal to the widest possible consumer base, thus driving increased sales.
GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 30+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established travel & tourism companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of dynamic pricing-based ticketing.
Key players in dynamic pricing-based ticketing – a disruptive innovation in the travel & tourism industry
‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.
‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.
Patent volumes related to dynamic pricing-based ticketing
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
IBM is one of the leading patent filers in the area of dynamic pricing and although it is not specialised in the area of travel & tourism, it has filed for more patents in this area than any other company thanks to its specialism in machine learning. Specialist travel tech vendor Amadeus is also a leading assignee in this area, having filed for patents in areas such as auxiliary control mechanisms for complex query processing and recommender systems and methods using cascaded machine learning models. The presence of Amadeus is unsurprising given its position as a market leader in global distribution system provision, but travel and tourism companies are also filing for patents in the area of dynamic pricing. Airbnb and American Airlines are the two leading travel and tourism specialists in this regard, having filed for 25 and 24 patents since 2019 respectively. To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the travel & tourism industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Key Themes in Travel and Tourism for 2022.