Which is the Next Travel Tech Multi-Billion Dollar Company?

Many candidates in the B2B, outdoor travel, tours & activities, booking engines and corporate travel categories

Last week I sent out a survey with the following question:

Which startup could become one of the world's next travel tech multi-billion dollar companies (excluding the one with which you are affiliated with or have significant financial interests)?  

Thank you all for the more than 220 answers I received, most of them on an anonymous basis. Thank you all for your input. Actually, even God (or someone who self identifies as such) voted in this survey, and according to him/her, the next big travel super unicorn has not yet been born.  

It is interesting that B2B companies represented more than 1/3 of the 48 companies that got votes. This includes Hoteltech companies such as The Hotel Network, Airline Tech startups such as Duffel and Adtech providers such as Sojern. There was significant interest in startups such as Glamping Hub and Hipcamp competing in the camping and outdoor segments, which has gotten quite a boost during Covid and whose suppliers are still highly fragmented. But there is also optimism in companies in sectors that have been particularly hard hit during the pandemic. Such is the case with TravelPerk which counts with many believers. OTAs and booking engines were well represented as well, with companies such as Kiwi.com and Hopper getting significant attention. Voters also are optimistic on the future of startups that provide solutions to the highly fragmented tours and attractions sector, and they believe that current unicorn GetYourGuide still has lots of upside.

The spirit of the survey was to get names of companies in which the voter does not currently work or has a financial interest in.  I made a reference to this in the question itself, but there are strong signals that a couple of companies got many votes that seemed to come from employees. That’s my fault for not making the point clearer. If I do a similar survey in the future, I will structure it differently.  This said, I am glad to see employees being excited about their company’s future. 

For the reason above, and in order not to do any finger pointing, I will not state the number of votes received, but I’ll simply show the list of companies that received at least 1 vote.

But first, let’s highlight a few answers from travel professionals:

Avi Meir - Co-founder & CEO, TravelPerk: “GetYourGuide is already a unicorn, but I believe that it has a 100x potential from where it is today. People are eager to experience the world in person, especially after the pandemic zoom fatigue. The younger the generation is, the more they care about experiences and less about collecting houses/cars/other trophies. GetYourGuide has the best product, inventory, and most importantly team to capture this massive opportunity in the next 10 years.”

Juanjo Rodriguez - Founder & CEO, The Hotels Network: “Outdoorsy / Hipcamp / etc. There is a big opportunity in bringing online new accommodation supply. That's what Booking.com did with hotels and what Airbnb did with private apartments. Those two categories, however, are almost exhausted, all the supply is online already. So, a player that concentrates a new, large category of accommodation has the potential to be a very large company.”

Tao Tao - Chief Operating Officer, GetYourGuide: “Flixbus. Asset-light approach to solving intercity mobility coupled with world-class execution.”

Pierre Becerril - Co-founder & CEO, Transparent Intelligence: “I’m a fan of Duffel. I feel that Travel, due to its fragmentation, has had a hard time to keep up with the pace of innovation on the connectivity front, especially compared to other industries in banking or telecom. There is a great opportunity to simplify connectivity and distribution in our industry and it seems that Duffel is well positioned to do that.”

Tomas Gonzalez Ruiz - Chief Marketing Officer, Almundo: “Hopper, because of their use of Big Data.”

Arnaldo Muñoz - GM for EMEA and North America, Selina (formerly at Airbnb): “Hipcamp. Camping and glamping is a segment that will continue to grow exponentially, even post Covid. Hipcamp has solved the main friction point with users by enabling instant booking (versus the rest of the market which still follows a slow and complex manual process).”

Juan Pablo Lafosse - Founder &CEO & Founder, Almundo: “Kiwi.com. They are focusing on a huge problem of a huge market. They have an amazing team and culture. They have the ambition and the decision to become one the top global travel players.”

Toni Raurich - Travel investor investor and director (formerly at Booking.com): “Hotelbeds. Despite Covid, the company reinforced its consolidation strategy and managed to acquire a lot of new properties which should allow a lot of free cash flow. There is no one following this old school, high value strategy anymore.”

Javier Delgado - Chief Commercial and Digital Officer, Iberostar Hotels: “Glamping Hub, Blacklane, TourRadar”

RJ Friedlander - Co-founder and former CEO, ReviewPro: “Hipcamp, Glamping Hub. Big market still to be brought online.”

Amuda Gouelli - Founder & CEO, Destinia: “Kiwi.com. Revolutionizing transportation search and solid financial backing.”

And now, here are the 48 companies that received at least 1 vote, segmented by categories.

Hospitality Tech

  • Arise Travel | Distribution technology

  • Beonprice | Hotel revenue strategy solutions

  • Chartok | Hotel teamwork and collaboration software

  • Easol | Sell more experiences online

  • Guruhotel | Hotel websites optimized for eCommerce.

  • Hotelbeds | World’s leading bedbank

  • HotelRunner | Hotel online sales and channel management

  • Mews | PMS designed to simplify and automate hotel operations

  • Pinktada | Hotel reservation marketplace

  • The Hotels Network | Predictive personalization to increase hotel direct booking

Airline Tech

  • Cargo.one | Platform to book air cargo

  • Duffel | API to sell flights online

  • FLYR | The Revenue Operating System for Airlines

  • Yieldin | Airline revenue management

Travel Tech, Adtech, Data, Analytics

  • Iomob | Plug-and-play platform for shared mobility marketplaces

  • Sojern | Online Advertising for hotels, attractions and destinations

  • Zytlyn | Powering decisions with actionable data, predictions, and insights

Suppliers - Transportation, Accommodations

Camping and Outdoor Travel

OTAs, Travel Booking

Travel Guides, Tours & Activities, Communities

  • Civitatis | Worldwide guided tours and activities

  • GetYourGuide | Tours, activities, and attractions booking

  • Guruwalk | Walking tours by local guides

  • Homiefoo | Social network for travelers

  • Questo | City exploration games

  • Playvisit | Self-guided tours by expert tour guides

  • Pluto | Travel planner

  • WeRoad | Solo traveler community

TMCs, Corporate Travel Services

We’ll revisit in 5 years to see if any of the above became one of the world’s most next multi-billion travel tech companies :-)