OTAs plan to increase investment in technology in next 12 months

OTAs plan to increase investment in technology in next 12 months

Amadeus report finds OTAs hopes to improve customer experience and innovate

Online travel agencies plan to increase investment in technology by an average of 13% in the next 12 months, according to a report by Amadeus.

Its Travel Tech Investment Trends report found that 86% of OTAs plan ‘at least’ moderate technology investment in their businesses over the next year and 14% saying their investment will be conservative.

There are differences among markets, with OTAS in US and Asia ‘particularly bullish’ according to Amadeus, which reports 29% and 28% of OTAs in these countries plan ‘aggressive investment’.

Some 94% of OTAs expect to spend ‘the same or more’ on technology over the coming twelve months while 63% will spend ‘more’ than the prior 12 months.

The main driver of this investment is to improve user experience, Amadeus says, with 59% of respondents citing this as a reason.

It was followed closely by innovation (58%), sustainability (57%), margin improvement (54%) and increased revenue (53%).

“These findings suggest technology investments are viewed as a necessity to differentiate and compete,” said Sam Abdou, EVP, global OTAs, at Amadeus.

The report also looked at OTAs’ specific travel technology concerns for 2024.

It found that 40% of were concerned about customers’ access to the right information to make sustainable choices, 35% were worried about their ability to offer a full end-to-end trip for customers, 35% wanted to better serve the customer, 35% were concerned about the cost-effectiveness of driving traffic to their sites, and 33% wanted to improve productivity.

Over the next 12 months, OTAs told Amadeus that to improve customers- end-to-end experience the most important technology was APIs to connect multiple travel sources, improvement to mid- and back-office systems, API aggregation, conversational search and robotics for back-end efficiency.

Longer-term, they expect to a focus on back-end robotics, NDC, self-serve ticket changes, LCC servicing and LCC search.  

Amadeus suggested that many OTAs ‘may consider they have overcome some of the initial challenges’ they faced with NDC, with just 25% saying ‘preparing for NDC’ was a concern.

Generative-AI and machine learning are seen as the most impactful technologies for OTAs over a five-year horizon, according to the report, which also concluded that OTAs are expanding their access to new forms of non-air content, with a specific focus on hotel, insurance, destination, and mobility.

Elena Avila, EVP, travel distribution, at Amadeus predicted robotics technology, self-service tools and solutions to drive efficiency are ‘the name of the game’ in the upcoming year.

She said: “Exciting times are ahead for the industry with technology as a value-driver for better travel. 

“This year, we will continue to adapt to this fast-paced environment and remain a technology leader for Online Travel Agencies and their strategic partner of choice.”

Amadeus’ Travel Tech Investment Trends report also looked into technology spending plans for airlines, business travel agents and leisure travel agents.