The Definitive History of Online Travel Platforms

When travel moved online, consumers found it easier to book hotels and flights on travel agencies like Expedia. The introduction of this not only changed the travel experience, it also emerged as an an entirely new industry. The most important developments over the past 25 years.


British computer scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee wrote a proposal for the World-wide web.


Travelweb created the first catalogue (and later booking system) of hotel properties. It was created by team of John Davis of The Hotel Industry Switch Company. Jeff Greenwald triggered travel blogging. He posted an article called One Hundred Seconds of Solitude.


Internet Travel Network (ITN) claimed to have overseen the first airline ticket booking over the web. Viator Systems launched a platform to book destination tours and excursions. It made its first tentative steps into online publishing. Lonely Planet took its first steps into online publishing of travel guides. It inspired many travel brands to emerge on the scene.


Microsoft created an online platform to tackle the momentum and named it Expedia. Many imitators surged in and now lot of brands has paced in both leisure and corporate travel. Larry Page and Sergy Brin started a new way to catalogue everything on the web with a search engine called Google. Travel providers spent billions on advertisements. EasyJet and Ryanair, new low cost carriers entered the European market and promoted their websites to book flights.

1998 emerged as the brand of the era. It launched its playful online travel shopping experience in Europe. Travelocity has now taken over it.


FareChase appeared and became a major online travel shopping experience - metasearch. It was bought by Yahoo later.


A local business located above a pizza parlor, launched TripAdvisor and there were revolution of the hotel industry. Travellers left reviews of hotels making it easier for fellow travellers to choose.


One of many unintended consequences of the September 11 attacks materialised as suppliers realise the web is a significantly efficient way of shifting unfilled inventory.


Priceline bought Active Hotels and then a year later. It started heading the travel ecosystem. Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook, the social network that inspired generations to share travel experiences. Now most of the companies have their business page on Facebook.


Though not directly, Apple was responsible for evolution of online travel. The users were given access to web via mobile communications. Thousands of travel-related apps followed.


Air Bed And Breakfast led the charge of a second wave of online travel brand bringing short term bringing travel rentals into a web marketplace. It later changed its name to Air Bnb.


Twitter took hold and inspired real-time messaging and engagement between traellers and travel brands.


Google ramped up its interest in the industry and bought ITA software. The deal started a raging debate which is still ongoing.


Hotel Tonight started the trend of travel brands which probably could not have existedbefore mobile services kicked in – same-day booking of hotels via a handset.


KLM decided the only way to figure out how to use social media effectively is to experiment with it. The flagship project was Meet & Seat service, a way to select seats based on social profiles.

Online travel agency (OTA) has progressed today and hasn’t stopped anywhere. There is a constant push for easier ways to capture the market of travellers. You can find the largest online travel companies such as Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz in the same tyre. They own the largest share of the market. Mobile apps are also battling in the market for their fair share.

Nowadays, a typical travel site has the following categories:

  • Flights
  • Hotels
  • Car Rentals
  • Vacation Packages
  • Cruises
  • Deals and Destinations
  • Maps Business Travel

Some websites even allow you to bid for flights and hotels and you can fetch them for a much lower price. The catch is the flexibility of dates. Vertical search engine like Kayak on travel has been introduced to them. They go through the Internet and the best information for you but they only available in some categories such as fares and hotels and limit to some destinations. can forecast the airfare and notice you if the fare will drop. Therefore, it could save your money through prediction. A lot of review site are upcoming nowadays so that people may be need a search engine focus on review. Kango, claim their work on this aspect in process. The beta version is available and could search review through the type of consumer's requirement with the help of keywords.

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