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Key Themes in Travel and Tourism for 2022 – Thematic Research

The travel and tourism industry is going through unprecedented change. COVID-19 has fundamentally changed traveler demands and how companies operate. The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of advanced technologies in the travel and tourism industry, with companies now fighting to stay ahead, or keep up with, the digital curve. Technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), for example, offer a multitude of internal and external benefits that have increased in importance during the past year. A strong online presence is now vital for travel and tourism organizations, and this needs to be bolstered by usable and innovative apps. Travel apps are commonly becoming a one-stop-shop for the whole travel journey, being used in the ‘pre’, ‘during’, and ‘post’ stages of a trip.

What are the key themes in travel and tourism?

Technology Themes:

Artificial intelligence (AI) & Machine learning (ML): AI refers to software-based systems that use data inputs to make decisions on their own or that help users make decisions. Within five years, the deployment of AI will be essential to the survival of companies of all shapes and sizes across the travel and tourism industry.

ML is an application of AI that gives computer systems the ability to learn and improve from data without being explicitly programmed. A rapidly growing number of travel and tourism companies are applying ML to industry-specific challenges, such as using it to meet the ever-growing need for personalized products and services from travelers.

Cybersecurity: Cybersecurity is the body of technologies, processes, and practices designed to protect networks, computers, programs, and electronic data from attack, damage, or unauthorized access. The travel industry holds a high number of hugely valuable data points for a single traveler. If these data points are not well protected, there are great risks for the individuals that could have their data stolen, and for the reputation of the company itself.

Internet of Things (IoT): IoT is an umbrella term referring to the ability of everyday physical objects (such as fridges, watches, or cars) to connect with other devices over the internet, enabling them to send and receive data. IoT will have a significant impact on the travel and tourism industry, opening a host of new opportunities and potential threats.

5G (fifth-generation wireless): This is the latest iteration of cellular technology, built to increase the speed and responsiveness of wireless networks. 5G will act as an enabler for multiple emerging technologies including IoT, autonomous vehicles, and augmented reality. It also has the potential to revolutionize industries such as travel and tourism.

Macroeconomic Themes:

COVID-19: The pandemic has had a great impact on international tourism since its birth. International travel restrictions have been implemented for large parts of the pandemic. Domestic tourism has faced restrictions for shorter periods of time across the globe, meaning that companies reliant on this form of tourism were impacted, but not as heavily as ones reliant on international tourism. Sectors that rely on international travel, such as the airport and airline industries, have faced severe financial implications caused by the pandemic.

ESG: Adapting operations and creating initiatives to address environmental, social and governance issues allows companies and organizations to benefit from an array of advantages, such as improved positioning in the consumer’s mindset and a long-term reduction in operating costs. ESG is heavily linked to sustainability. The term ‘sustainability’ focuses on meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

Mergers and acquisitions: The consolidation of companies or assets. As well as mergers and acquisitions themselves, the category can include a number of other transactions, including consolidations, tender offers, purchase of assets, and management buyouts. In all cases, two entities are involved. M&A helps strong companies outpace their weaker rivals and offer start-ups a lucrative reward for innovation.

Sharing economy: An economic system in which assets or services are shared between private individuals, either free or for a fee, typically by means of the internet. In the travel and tourism industry, this includes consumers sharing their homes, cars, or hobbies with others to enrich or facilitate touristic experiences. 

Industry Themes:

Travel apps: These applications offer brands and tourists a direct line to each other, offering the customer convenience and the company a front-row seat for gaining insights on travel preferences. As elements of the travel process are increasingly performed on mobile devices, even at the research stage, it is essential for companies to be present in the formats that their customers are most familiar with. As a result of this, the importance of omnichannel connectivity has grown. Apps are commonly becoming a one-stop shop for the whole travel journey.

Low-cost evolution: Low-cost carriers (LCCs), the sharing economy, and price comparison sites have thrown the travel industry on its head. Characterized by their ‘no frills’ approach, easyJet, Ryanair, Airbnb, and Travel Supermarket have revolutionized the way tourists and mainstream providers think about travel. Consumer expectations are naturally shifting, keeping incumbents and traditional players on their toes. As the LCC market evolves it is driving the disaggregation of full-service carrier (FSC) ticketing, creating new niches like a low-cost long haul, and generally challenging what it means to be an airline carrier today.

Online travel: Online travel is the sale of travel goods and services electronically through the internet. The market value of online travel intermediaries has experienced rapid growth in recent years, increasing at a growth rate of more than 7% between 2016 and 2019. Social media has now become a strategic channel for marketing and customer service for online travel companies, and an important platform to increase visibility. Leading online travel companies are constantly innovating, to the extent that some travel brands such as Airbnb and Trip.com refer to themselves as technology companies.

What are the companies mentioned in this report?

Marriott International, Expedia Group, Booking Holdings, Hyatt, flypop, Norwegian Cruise Line, Hans Christian Andersen Airport, British Airways, and Walt Disney are the major companies mentioned in this report.

Market report scope

Outlook Year 2022
Companies Mentioned Marriott International, Expedia Group, Booking Holdings, Hyatt, flypop, Norwegian Cruise Line, Hans Christian Andersen Airport, British Airways, and Walt Disney.
  • This report provides an overview of the key themes in travel and tourism for 2022.
  • This report clearly defines and explains what the key technology, macroeconomic and industry themes are in travel and tourism and how they often interlink.
  • This report outlines the importance of specific themes within the tourism and why it is vital that companies invest in the ones which are relevant to them.
  • This report provides examples of what companies and organizations in the travel and tourism industry are doing in reaction to specific key themes, along with the outcome of these reactions.
  • We highlight travel and tourism companies that are leading in these themes, such as Deutsche Bahn, Marriott International, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Sixt.

Reasons to Buy

  • To understand the key themes in travel and tourism and their current and future impact on the industry.
  • To recognize how the key themes in travel and tourism are often interlinked.
  • To assess the general usage of key themes in specific tourism sectors.
  • To become aware of the strategies that tourism companies and organizations have adopted to tap into key themes, as well as the success of these strategies.
  • GlobalData’s thematic research ecosystem is a single, integrated global research platform that provides an easy-to-use framework for tracking all themes across all companies in all sectors. It has a proven track record of identifying the important themes early, enabling companies to make the right investments ahead of the competition, and secure that all-important competitive advantage.

Key Players

Marriott International, Expedia Group, Booking Holdings, Hyatt, flypop, Norwegian Cruise Line, Hans Christian Andersen Airport, British Airways, Walt Disney

Table of Contents

| Contents

Executive Summary

T&T Theme Map

Technology Themes

Macroeconomic Themes

Industry Themes

Sector Scorecards


|Our Thematic Research Methodology

| About GlobalData

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Frequently Asked Questions

Marriott International, Expedia Group, Booking Holdings, Hyatt, flypop, Norwegian Cruise Line, Hans Christian Andersen Airport, British Airways, and Walt Disney are the major companies mentioned in this report.

The key technology themes in the travel and tourism sector are artificial intelligence & machine learning, cybersecurity, the internet of things, and 5G.

The key macroeconomic themes in the travel and tourism sector are COVID-19, ESG, mergers & acquisitions, and sharing economy.

The key industry themes in the travel and tourism sector are travel apps, low-cost evaluation, and online travel.


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