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5 Companies That Completely Changed the Travel Industry

These days, great businesses are built around an idea and the Internet -- the travel business is no different.

Players in this industry contribute to its ever-changing landscape with innovative ideas and impact the where, when and how we travel.

A couple of decades ago, planning a trip began with a visit to the travel agent or maybe picking up a brochure. Now, we have the world at our fingertips, thanks to the Internet.

Here are 5 companies that completely transformed the travel industry:

Expedia EXPE

For one of the most recognizable online travel companies, Expedia, ideas are the key to success.

According to CMO, president and CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, Expedia works on 50 different versions of the website at any given time and provides daily updates to clients.

“What we find is one-third of ideas work, one-third are things the consumer doesn’t care about, and one-third fail. The difference between failure and success can be so small. You need to harness audiences that over time will show you if it’s a good or bad feature. We don’t have to guess, just test,” Khosrowshahi said.

Apart from this, the company has a prudent growth plan for both domestic and international markets, which has kept the company afloat amid the recessionary times.

Management has an effective quantitative model to study customer behavior and spending pattern, as well as the company’s success rates. These success rates are in turn used for gaining suppliers, further increasing the choices offered to visitors. The vast options attract more customers, which translate into revenue growth and margin expansion. Given the rapid increase in its international business, Expedia is building its technology platform to support the growth in its targeted markets.

Also working in its favor are the statistics. According to the Travel Technology Association, the majority of U.S. travelers (55%) choose online travel agencies when searching for hotels.

Expedia has been snapping up companies to increase its penetration in existing markets, expand in others and eliminate competition. In less than a year it acquired Wotif, Travelocity and Orbitz. Inc. PCLN

Priceline has pioneered a unique e-Commerce pricing system known as demand collection system to help consumers save money on a wide range of products and services while enabling sellers to generate incremental revenues.