Summary of our market study

The global online travel market has shown strong recovery post the COVID-19 pandemic's substantial impact, with the market size rising from $354.2 billion in 2020 to a projected $706.2 billion by 2025, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.8%. This growth is driven by increasing Internet usage, e-commerce breakthroughs, and consumer demand for value. Despite the pandemic causing significant drops in activity, with restrictions leading to booking declines of at least 76%, the market is bouncing back. Online travel now constitutes 46% of all travel sales in France.

French E-Tourism: A Market Shaped by Digital Trends and Eco-Conscious Choices

The online travel market in France is witnessing a steady transformation influenced by digital trends, eco-awareness, and the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. French consumers are increasingly leaning towards e-tourism, which has become a significant part of the French e-commerce sector. A trend report reveals that the online consultation of travel sites and applications by the French has grown markedly. Furthermore, online booking and payment for trips have seen substantial growth.

The French market reflects a growing ecological consciousness among consumers who prefer more personalized options, with around 60% of those who book travel online expressing this desire. However, there is still some reluctance to prioritize ecological measures over cost, with only around 34% of online bookers prepared to pay extra for a more environmentally friendly trip. Interestingly, when making reservations, French consumers place considerable emphasis on value for money, comments from previous travelers, and ease of payment. In terms of choosing an online travel agency, past experience with the site, price competitiveness, and the site's reputation are the deciding factors for many French individuals. In terms of market shares, foreign giants like Booking.com, TripAdvisor, and Airbnb lead the pack, with noteworthy traffic on their platforms each month.

However, the state-owned Oui.sncf also stands out, demonstrating the French public's continued reliance on traditional transportation booking systems amidst the proliferation of international online travel agencies. The demand for international travel is projected to decline by around 10% over the next few years, fostering a pivot towards domestic tourism. This shift is backed by a "staycation" trend, aligning with a more profound focus on biodiversity and respect for local communities and cultures. Around 71% of young French travelers express a preference for their spending to benefit the local people.

The market is becoming increasingly concentrated with large players like Expedia and Priceline implementing strategies for market dominance through acquisitions, mergers, and diversification. For instance, Expedia's acquisition of HomeAway for an amount between $3.5 and $4 billion solidified its position across various travel market segments. 

Key Market Stalwarts: Navigating the Online Travel Space

As the online travel sector streamlines and evolves, there's a cadre of market champions that have etched their names into the industry not just by their offerings, but also through strategic acquisitions and robust service platforms tailored to diverse traveler needs. Here's a deeper dive into these market leaders and their unique positioning within the digital travel landscape.

  • Expedia Group: The Versatile Travel Conglomerate Expedia, a tour de force in the travel industry, exemplifies diversification and expansion, having scooped up a plethora of brands under its wing. With Hotels.com and Travelocity focused on accommodation and travel bookings, to Trivago catering to those craving a deal via price comparison, each subsidiary meets distinct consumer preferences. Car rentals and business travel are also within Expedia's portfolio, ably supported by Egencia. A significant move was its penetration into the vacation rental market through the acquisition of HomeAway – a response to changing traveler trends favoring private rentals.

  • Booking Holdings Inc.: The Online Booking Behemoth - At the helm of the e-tourism fleet stands Booking Holdings, keeper of Booking.com – a giant among global online travel agencies. The company's focus has been on consolidating its might through precision moves, illustrated by the strategic merger of Booking.com with Activehotels.com. Other smart acquisitions include Priceline and Agoda, that have broadened their service spectrum. The group's interest in fostering innovation is evident by its purchase of Kayak and investments in budding start-ups that promise to redefine travel tech.

  • Airbnb: The Trailblazer in Peer-to-Peer Accommodation - Airbnb revolutionized the concept of accommodations by introducing a model that benefits both hosts and guests. The company's growth and brand appeal is largely attributed to its peer-to-peer lodging service, allowing homeowners to monetize their spare living spaces. While their core business hinges on connecting travelers with local hosts, Airbnb has been branching out into experiences and adventures, personifying travel personalization. The relatively lower commission rates for hosts versus the fees charged from guests tip the economic scales in Airbnb's favor, contributing to its increasing inventory and popularity.

  • The Priceline Group: Nurturing Innovation - An interesting facet of the group’s strategy is its predilection for nurturing innovation within the travel tech realm. Priceline's investments in promising start-ups signify its role as an incubator looking to perpetuate evolution in the digital travel domain. 
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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Definition and scope of study

The online travel market is defined by all the sites that enable travel bookings to be made over the Internet. They allow you to compare flight prices to choose the cheapest and most optimal itinerary, and also to compare hotels, car rental sites, etc...

Online travel players include hotel and airline websites, which have their own online sites, and networks of physical agencies, which are increasingly using e-commerce . Above all, there are pure players such as 100% online booking sites and holiday rental platforms for individuals. Price comparison sites also play a key role in e-tourism, as consumers look for the best price.

Worldwide, online travel is experiencing extremely dynamic growth with theincrease in Internet use and the breakthrough of e-commerce. Consumers' desire to find the best value for money also represents a real growth driver for the Internet, which appears to be the best tool for doing so. With Covid-19, however, the sector is likely to experience a significant drop in activity, but this should catch up by 2023, with a CAGR for online tourism of 11.24% between 2020 and 2023.

Today, the Internet accounts for 46% of all travel sales in France, and sales have been rising sharply in recent years.

In France, as in other countries, e-commerce represents an opportunity and a technical and business development contribution for retailers, rather than a competitor that would be detrimental to their services. As the FEVAD confirms,"Internet enables them to use new tools, to offer consumers a new vision of their products and H24 access to their portal."

Finally, the players are looking to diversify, offering increasingly personalized follow-up services to attract customers from traditional travel agencies.

List of charts presented in this market study

  • Size and estimate of the global online travel market based on a CAGR of 14.8%
  • Global market breakdown
  • E-commerce market share in travel sales
  • Top 15 products and services purchased in 2022, as % of e-buyers
  • Growth in online tourism sales
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Latest news

Travel: Evaneos hopes to become the hub of sustainable tourism - 12/10/2023
  • Evaneos was founded in 2009.
  • The company connects its customers with 600 partner agencies.
  • Evaneos charges a commission of just under 15% on sales.
  • By 2023, the company expects to have recorded sales in excess of 200 million euros.
  • Since 2019, travel to Mozambique has doubled, as have the Baltic countries and Nicaragua.
  • Evaneos is already present outside France in Spain, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands, and plans to accelerate its development in these markets.
Tourism: Expedia doesn't want to leave France to Booking and Airbnb | Expedia against Booking and Airbnb in France - 26/09/2023
  • Expedia is a leader in online booking, particularly in the United States, despite a weaker presence in France.
  • Expedia works with 60,000 travel agents.
  • Worldwide sales of Expedia's BtoB business reached $2.5 billion in 2022, or just under a quarter of its revenues ($11.6 billion).
Fiber optics: Circet takes over Scopelec and half its workforce (around 1,000 jobs) - 22/01/2023
  • Scopelec company specialized in the installation and maintenance of fiber optic and copper networks
  • Circet group of 15,000 employees in 14 countries, with sales of 2.42 billion euros in 2021,
CEPSA, a Spanish company, wants to make a name for itself in the hydrogen field. - 09/12/2022
  • Gigantic green hydrogen production hub to run between Cadiz and Huelva
  • Cepsa will invest 3 billion euros to set up the solar fields and wind turbines that will generate the renewable energy needed to power the electrolysis process.
  • The circuit is expected to produce 300,000 tonnes of green hydrogen per year
  • Maersk plans to invest 10 billion euros in Spain to establish two bases for e-methanol production
Liquid sourdough boosts Puratos' Vosges site - 22/11/2022
  • Belgian group (65 plants, 2 in France) present in 81 countries
  • 2021, sales of 2.3 billion euros for 9,000 employees.
  • Inauguration of a liquid sourdough production line at the Charmes Vosges plant (80 employees), specialized in the processing of dried fruit, pralines and the filling of baking powders
  • The 2 French plants total sales of 201 million euros.
  • the sourdough market could grow by 4.2% a year over the next 3 years.
Idealys reinvents apartment building management - 21/10/2022
  • A single application for building management
  • A subscription fee of 2 to 8 euros per month, depending on the services offered
  • The start-up is deploying its solution in four buildings in Montpelier's new Eureka district (300 housing units, 8,000 m2 of office space and 500 m2 of retail space)
  • Financial support of 1.5 million euros from the Occitanie region and BPI

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

Booking.com
Airbnb
Evaneos
Kayak
Abritel (Expedia Group)
Lastminute.com
TravelPerk
Opodo (eDreams Odigeo)
TripAdvisor
HRS
Ebookers (Expedia Group)
Skyscanner

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