While it is exciting to see the consolidation happening in the online travel booking space, the lack of new scaled startups to challenge the biggies remains a worry for anyone. And possibly consumers as well.
The online travel booking market is increasingly looking like the rest of the Web: Size, reach, and revenues are consolidating among few big players, and they are driving the spate of big acquisitions in the market.
The latest acquisition of Wotif by Expedia for $658 million is a continuum to the process that started couple of years ago.
The latest round of big stakes mergers and acquisitions arguably started in fall of 2012, when Priceline plunked down $1.8 billion for Kayak. Since then, the online booking market has become a two-horse race: Priceline Group vs. Expedia, as the rest of the old stalwarts like Travelocity and Orbitz, among others, have fallen way behind.
Add to that list HomeAway, TripAdvisor, and European consolidator eDreams Odigeo, and that rounds up the large acquirers in the online booking space in the last two years. Out of all of these, TripAdvisor is the outlier, having bought the most number of companies, but spent the least amount of money, focusing on tiny acquisitions.
We have collected the big four online travel acquirers — Priceline Group, Expedia Inc, HomeAway and TripAdvisor — and their acquisitions over the last two years — 2012-2014 — in a handy chart below:
|Expedia||Auto Escape Group||n/a||2014|
|HomeAway||Stayz Group||$ 205.5 M for *||2013|
|HomeAway||Glad To Have You||n/a||2014|
|TripAdvisor||Oyster.com||$34.8 M for *||2013|
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Photo credit: This consolidation in online travel market will only increase with mobile booking taking off. taymtaym / Flickr