Inspire & Search


Online Travel Agents (OTAs) have taken over from their high street equivalent, able to compress hundreds of thousands of holiday options into a single browser window, ready to tempt in an instant.

With the progression of VR, AI and other smart tech, searching for your perfect trip has become an easier, personalised and immersive experience. Even traditional travel agents recognise the value of an inspirational online platform, using them to help shepherd customers to visit them face to face at a later date.

The Inspire & Search stage of the travel industry is highly competitive in todays growing market. It’s also extremely well- populated, with both OTAs, direct travel and accommodation bookings, and even social media trying to inspire and convert sales.


Katherine Grass

Head of Innovation & Ventures Amadeus IT Group

2016 was a year of upheaval. The US election saw Trump installed in the White House, the UK referendum saw Brexit preparations get underway in Europe. It is unsurprising that the geopolitical environment led to increased caution from investors. 2016 saw overall VC investment decline by 24 percent across all sectors from 2015, and the number of deals reduced from around 18,000 to 13,000.
However, it is fair to say that caution – rather than gloom – characterised the investment landscape. The picture was still relatively healthy with over $130 billion invested globally, and Asia remaining stable thanks to India. 
Despite the decline in VC funding, there was good news for startups as corporate venture funds remained relatively stable, declining by only two per cent on 2015. It is clear that corporate venturing is no longer a trend, it is now standard. New funds such as Baidu Venture or the Sony Innovation Fund have begun to invest.  
For start-ups this means more funding options. But it isn’t just about funding. It’s about the support that corporates can also bring. Unlocking access to a network of customers, collaboration on product development, business development support – all of which is important in the startup phase. 

Amadeus continues to be motivated by the travel startup scene. The success of Airbnb and Uber is testament to how quickly a great proposition can go global, giving entrepreneurs and founders reason to pursue new ideas. We are seeing increasing excitement around technologies such as artificial intelligence, messaging platforms and blockchain. For AI startups, 2016 was a great year which saw over $5 billion invested. Blockchain funding has seen over $1 billion invested in 2015 and 2016. 

At Amadeus, we are focusing our innovation and investment activities on the areas we feel will deliver most value to our customers. Our approach is to focus on areas where we see greatest opportunity such as improved conversion, messaging platforms, blockchain, operations and performance. By doing so, we hope to help those travel startups and disruptors to turn great ideas into businesses that make a difference to how we will all travel in the future.

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Investment timeline

Below we’ve highlighted some of the key startups within Inspire & Search which have announced new funding this year.

Full report - 45 min read

Traveltech Trends 2017/18, showcases the latest global technology trends and investments in the travel industry; profiling the world’s Top 150 startups and agile corporates reimagining today’s products, services, and business models.

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Summary report

Traveltech Trends 2017/18 summary report reveals the key trends and the game-changers to watch.

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