Report Overview Skift has broken its online travel agency coverage this year into a multi-part series exploring different aspects of the business model in depth. The first part of the series examined the advertising spend of online travel agencies in North America and Europe. The second part of the series looked at the inventory and supply aspect of these same sites. The final part of the series, below, takes a deep dive into two emerging market booking sites.
Part III of our series on the state of online travel agencies in 2018 is a twofer. In it, we profile two fascinating companies in the emerging markets: MakeMyTrip and Despegar. This is Skift Research’s inaugural research coverage for both of these businesses.
Skift believes that the rise of emerging market travelers will be a defining trend over the coming years and studying the business strategies of current leaders in the space can be instructive to executives and investors everywhere.
Not only do India (MakeMyTrip) and Latin America (Despegar) have the potential to be major travel markets, but both have representative companies with public filings, allowing us a detailed look into these businesses that would be near impossible to get for many other regional online travel agencies.
Despite superficial and geographic differences, MakeMyTrip and Despegar have much in common. To name just a few, both are the reigning online travel champions in their respective local markets, have decades of operating experience, do business in highly fragmented markets with relatively low online penetration, and are listed on major U.S. exchanges.
The top lesson we learn is how much care must be taken when localizing a travel offering. Both MakeMyTrip and Despegar are highly evolved to match their regional niches. What works in the U.S. or Europe cannot be copy-pasted to new markets.
In addition to detailing the key market-specific tactics, we go through a complete tear down of these companies’ financial statements and business models in this report.