The latest analysis from Amadeus uses a “scenario planning” methodology to paint a picture of what the future might hold for online travel agents.
But unlike many similar projects, the future Amadeus looks at is only three years away – the paper is titled “Online Travel 2020, Evolve, Expand or Expire”.
At the start of the paper, it summarises its thoughts visually, illustrating the current and future complexities of the global online travel market.
Each of the four scenarios suggested by Amadeus is a viable extension of the current online travel market. The scenario of “digital tour operators” is subtly different from a virtual tour operator, which is how online travel agencies were often described in their early days.
A virtual tour operator (as distinct from a vertically integrated tour operator) owns no inventory such as planes or hotels or high street shops or cruise ships or dead-tree brochures. It is a tech platform which puts other people’s inventory in front of travellers.
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