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Improved search drives OTA investment in 2024, finds Amadeus

Improved search drives OTA investment in 2024, finds Amadeus

Online travel agencies (OTAs) are responding to growing expectations among travellers with a significant boost in investment to transform travel search.

According to a new research project from Amadeus – Travel Technology Investment Trends 2024 - OTAs are investing in new ways to search for travel as a top priority, with 72 per cent investing now, and a further 22 per cent planning to do so soon.

A key focus is bringing together full service and low-cost route options for travellers in a single search experience.

OTAs aim to improve ‘findability’, ‘bookability’ and conversion in equal measure.

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On average across the world, the OTA sector plans to increase investment in technology by a significant 13 per cent in the coming twelve months.

According to the research, some 94 per cent of OTAs will spend ‘the same or more’ on technology over the coming twelve months as they did in the previous twelve.

At the same time, a significant 63 per cent will spend ‘more’ on technology than the prior twelve months, with higher proportions of OTAs in LATAM, North America and Asia planning to increase investment in technology.

The evolution of OTAs has reached a pivotal moment.

Leaders in this space told researchers they are striving to provide an end-to-end trip planning, booking and servicing experience to travellers as they aim to become a ‘one-stop-shop’.

Linked to this macro-objective is the desire to deliver a better experience and drive the passenger experience.

The top technology and distribution priorities for OTAs over the coming 12 months are:

  • Enhance the customer experience – 53 per cent
  • Improve productivity – 44 per cent
  • Personalizing the offer – 33 per cent
  • Traffic acquisition – 33 per cent

OTAs were also asked to choose the most important broad technologies for their businesses in the short- and medium-term from a shortlist of options, with data analytics, machine learning, Generative AI and digital payments topping the list of priorities in the coming year.

In the longer-term, self-service technology, extended reality and robotics were cited as having the biggest potential impact.

Elena Avila, executive vice president, travel distribution, Amadeus, said: “Online travel agencies entered the year enjoying a sense of renewed momentum, with travellers turning to them once again to save time, find insight and obtain the best price.

“As OTAs continue to compete for traveller attention and trust, the ability to deliver an outstanding customer experience, while operating efficiently, remains key.”

She continued: “Tech leaders from OTAs told us that improving NDC search is crucial to delivering these objectives.

“With some airlines now implementing restrictions that limit an OTAs ability to query their inventory at scale, the industry needs more efficient search.

“At Amadeus, we are working to address this challenge with NDC Shopfront, this unleashes the way agents consume NDC content by optimizing distribution, offering travel sellers access to fast and accurate content, whilst at the same time reducing the search traffic hitting airline systems.”

About the research

Travel Technology Investment Trends is designed to take a unique, panoramic view across the entire travel ecosystem, with findings presented in a series of eight reports – addressing sectors including hospitality, aviation, travel sellers and payments.

The work investigates the developments that will define the sector over the coming year and beyond.

This Travel Technology Investment Trends report was informed by a survey with 150 senior leaders from Online Travel Agencies that are involved in technology investment decision-making.

Approximately 50 per cent of respondents were drawn from regional Online Travel Agencies with revenues of less than $100m.

The research was carried out in ten markets to provide a globally representative view. Respondents were drawn from the following markets: UK, France, Germany, UAE, USA, Mexico, Brazil, India, China and South Korea.

Read the full report here.