Marketing Operations in the Travel Industry Benchmarks: Online Travel Agencies

by Haixia Wang + Skift Team - Jun 2019

Skift Research Take

As modern marketing gets more complex, seamless delivery of marketing success requires a strong and well-executed operations strategy.

Report Overview

Empowered by the explosion of data that companies own or have access to about their existing customers as well as prospective customers, travel CMOs and their teams are on a mission to drive and transform business. Yet more opportunities and promises mean more complexities in technological offerings and skill and function demands. It is within this context that marketing operations has risen as an important discipline in the past few years.

As a result, marketing operations is often tasked to manage channel and campaign processes and performance evaluation, select and manage technology partners, plan budget, and coordinate inter- and cross-team communications. Yet core questions remain: Should there be a separate marketing operations specialist/team? What are the responsibilities and decision-making powers of the marketing operations function? In addition there are broader questions that are related to operations and crucial to marketing success, including how marketing teams should be structured, what functions should report under marketing, and how budgets should be set.

To help travel marketing executives see how they stack up in the industry in these areas and set up strategies to optimize, Skift Research conducted a survey of senior executives and marketing professionals in various travel sectors on their practices and attitudes related to these questions. We will release the survey findings in a series of reports, each focusing on one specific sector. Our first three reports presented findings for hotels (see Marketing Operations in the Travel Industry Benchmarks: Hotels for more details), destination organizations (see Marketing Operations in the Travel Industry Benchmarks: Destinations for more details), and tours and activities (see Marketing Operations in the Travel Industry Benchmarks: Tours and Activities for more details). This report focuses on data for the online travel agency (OTA) sector. As there is much convergence in the sector, we include online booking platforms as well as metasearch platforms under this category.

Total sample size for this sector is 32. Please see the Appendix for more detailed sample demographics.

What You'll Learn From This Report

  • 2019 marketing priorities for OTA companies
  • Prevalence of dedicated marketing operations functions in OTA companies
  • Responsibilities and effectiveness of marketing operations functions in OTA companies
  • How OTA marketing teams are structured and the effectiveness of each structure
  • Ideal marketing team structures in delivering marketing success
  • Functions that report under marketing in OTA companies
  • How OTA marketers set up marketing budgets and the effectiveness of each budgeting approach
  • How outperforming OTA companies stand out in key marketing operations areas