Industry for Online Travel Bookings to See Strong Post-Pandemic Growth

By Jemima McEvoy Saturday, May 15, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has not been kind to the travel industry. In fact, the World Travel & Tourism Council’s annual economic impact report found the global travel and tourism sector suffered around $4.5 trillion in losses in 2020. Though the past year was devastating, the industry is expected to see significant recovery over the next few years. In particular, the market for global mobile travel booking is projected to benefit from strong growth through 2029, according to a new report from Research and Markets.

Person using a smartphone travel app.

Market Profile

The mobile travel booking market was valued at $1.07 billion in 2020, according to the report. This sector of the travel industry has become increasingly popular in recent years as mobile devices continue to dominate cultures around the world. It has become very easy to plan and book a trip online without outside help. A testament to this change: the employment of travel agents is projected to decline by 26% from 2019 to 2029. As of 2019, there were about 82,000 travel agents left working in the US, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a number that will dip by 21,300 by the end of this decade.

Major Players

The market is dominated by a group of big-name companies, including Expedia, Thomas Cook Group, Trip Advisor, and Trivago. Other major players in the mobile travel bookings space include Hostelworld Group, Hotel Urbano Travel, MakeMyTrip Limited, Priceline Group, Tourism SA, CheapOair.Com, and Ctrip.Com.

Most of these companies are still struggling amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Expedia, which now boasts a market value of $24 billion, reported revenue of $1.24 billion in Q1 of this year. This is down 44% compared to the same period last year and brings the company’s adjustable net loss to $294 million. “As the dire situation in India reminds us, in some markets, things may get worse before they get better,” said Expedia Group CEO Peter Kern on the company’s Q1 earnings call.

Online Travel Booking Growth Projections

Though the short-term outlook for many of these companies is still rocky, they are ultimately expected to help drive a rebound for the travel industry. “While a full recovery to pre-pandemic travel demand is still likely years away, domestic travel is clearly on the upswing driven by vaccinated consumers and ample amounts of pent-up demand after over a year+ of restrictions and safety concerns,” Wedbush Securities wrote in a recent report. “We continue to believe that [online travel agencies] represent strong value with respect to COVID-19 recovery.”

The Research and Markets report predicts the market will expand by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.2% between 2021 and 2029. This will bring the value of the mobile travel booking market to over $2.68 billion by the end of the forecast period, amounting to a roughly 150% increase in value.

The ease that mobile booking brings to travel will incentivize customers to return to the hard-hit industry. Furthermore, rapid advancement in technology along with a rise in disposable income across emerging economies are also accelerating the adoption of the mobile travel booking market.

About the Author


Headshot for author Jemima McEvoy

Jemima is a journalist who enjoys reporting on business, particularly small business and entrepreneurship.

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