And today, back to our favorite subject: What’s actually working in travel right now, versus what gets funded and talked about. The delta between those two, starkly apparent in a list that’s grown to be among our annual favorites: Inc. Magazine‘s “5000 Fastest Growing Companies” list.

This is a list of U.S.-based private companies, measuring revenue growth from 2009 through 2012. To qualify, these for-profit companies must have been founded and generating revenue by March 31, 2009.

In this giant list for 2013 are 62 companies in the travel and hospitality space, and we’ve arranged them by total revenues over 2012.

The list is filled with mostly unfamiliar names. Some are holding companies in hospitality, travel management companies (for business travel), private aviation companies, B2B companies providing services to the travel industry at large, vacation and housing rental companies, and entertainment ventures. In other words, a group as eclectic as the breath and depth of travel industry, working beyond the ones with headlines.

For us, lot of those were names we hadn’t dug into before. The surprise for us in digital world was CheapCaribbean.com, the online booking cruise specialist that’s been around for the last eleven years, and now clocking in close to $400 million a year in revenues. Another one was SmartDestinations, an online tour booking company and platform that provides admission to more than 400 attractions across nine U.S. cities., and had revenues of above $30 million for 2012.

Among the ones most known to us, TravelClick was also big surprise by the sheer size of it, and we’re even recommending Tripadvisor should be having a closer look at the hospitality services firm as a possible acquisition target. Flightstats, another familiar company, is small but growing very fast.

COMPANY NAME3 YR % GROWTH2012 REVENUE MILLIONSSTATE
Benchmark Hospitality International88%$506.6 millionTX
CheapCaribbean.com91%$389.9 millionTX
Denihan Hospitality Group71%$280.8 millionNY
TravelClick43%$257.1 millionNY
First Hospitality Group64%$243.5 millionIL
Driftwood Hospitality Management40%$231.4 millionFL
Atlas Travel58%$220.6 millionMA
OTO Development/Palmetto Hospitality Funds227%$142.9 millionSC
National Corporate Housing414%$87.6 millionVA
Ovation Travel Group67%$58.6 millionNY
Access Destination Services125%$44.9 millionCA
Smart Destinations70%$31.1 millionMA
Big Night Entertainment Group173%$28.2 millionMA
Cruise Planners – American Express Travel49%$26.1 millionFL
Vantage Hospitality Group43%$24.2 millionFL
Banyan Investment Group148%$17.7 millionFL
Prive Jets308%$16.5 millionFL
Simpleview173%$16.4 millionAZ
Regal Wings2513%$15.4 millionNY
All Star Vacation Homes63%$15.2 millionFL
Grand Incentives198%$15.2 millionFL
Switchplace172%$14.9 millionTX
Fox World Travel37%$14.8 millionWI
Richfield Hospitality248%$12.3 millionCO
Magellan Jets243%$12.1 millionMA
Adventure Life50%$10.7 millionMT
UniFocus52%$10.4 millionTX
305 Degrees1071%$10.1 millionFL
Travel All Russia346%$9 millionVA
Liberty Jet Management173%$8.9 millionNY
Urban Nirvana35%$8.7 millionSC
ITN International54%$8.5 millionMD
Lusive Decor54%$8.1 millionCA
Sky Helicopters141%$7.9 millionTX
LeisureLink122%$7.2 millionCA
In-Flight Crew Connections1083%$6.9 millionNC
Xtreme Trips76%$6.7 millionNY
FlightStats134%$6.5 millionOR
Small World Vacations75%$6.5 millionNJ
Ludus Sports112%$6.4 millionCA
Red Zone Tickets96%$6.3 millionNE
HomeExchange.com119%$5 millionCA
VisaHQ40%$4.8 millionDC
Tenon Tours769%$4.8 millionMA
Journey Mexico115%$4.7 millionTX
21c Museum Hotels673%$4.6 millionKY
In the Know Experiences539%$4.3 millionNY
Paramount Business Jets1093%$4.3 millionVA
Sceptre Hospitality Resources167%$4.1 millionCO
Rocky Mountain Vacation Rentals237%$4 millionCO
Context Travel95%$3.8 millionPA
Executive Travel126%$3.8 millionNE
Hiatus Spa + Retreat279%$3.8 millionTX
Millennium Tours63%$3.7 millionTX
Luggage Forward97%$3.6 millionMA
Outer Banks Blue Realty Services70%$3.6 millionNC
International Voyager149%$3 millionNJ
Travel Tribe57%$2.8 millionNJ
J Public Relations260%$2.7 millionCA
A1ALimo.com79%$2.6 millionFL
London Guest Suites107%$2.6 millionCA
Sunshine Rentals55%$2.2 millionCA

Related Link: The 2012 listThe delta between what’s growing in travel vs. what’s getting VC funding

Photo Credit: Inc 5000 list, photo courtesy Inc's Facebook page. Inc. Magazine / Facebook