Travel TrendsQ2 report cards reveal as much as seven-fold increase in bookings.

Travel e-commerce hits new heights

Big surge in transaction volume from 2020 to 2021; some companies even surpassed pre-pandemic performance.
Big surge in transaction volume from 2020 to 2021; some companies even surpassed pre-pandemic performance. Photo Credit: Getty Images/Sitthiphong

While the travel industry navigates a stop-start return to business, one of its segments is prospering. E-commerce transactions in the travel and ticketing sector grew 122% in Q2 compared to the same period last year, according to a new report by software company ACI Worldwide.

“As travel restrictions begin to ease, more merchants are offering greater booking flexibility, allowing consumers to change dates and times as needed and giving them confidence in spending on travel,” said Debbie Guerra, executive vice president, ACI Worldwide, which analysed hundreds of millions of transactions in its latest study. “We expect the travel and ticketing sector to continue this long-awaited boost in sales.”

Q2 financial reports released by online travel players echo this significant uptrend.

At a press conference last week (August 12), Indonesia's told reporters that it averaged a seven-fold increase in sales across the different product categories in Q2.

Flight transactions were up by four times year-on-year, while accommodation bookings grew six-fold.

While this is partly attributed to the low base in 2020, other online travel players are reporting growth even when compared to pre-pandemic numbers.

For alternative lodging giant Airbnb, Q2 2021 revenue increased nearly 300% year-over-year and exceeded Q2 2019 by 10%. It raked in US$1.3 billion in revenue in the quarter, surpassing Q2 2020 revenue of US$335 million.

Revenue growth from 2019 accelerated from 5% in Q1 2021 to 10% in Q2 2021. The increasing rate of growth comes down to strength in North America, improvement in EMEA and higher Average Daily Rates, Airbnb stated.

Further sign of a bullish outlook in the online travel segment, ixigo, an India-based air and ground transport ticketing aggregator, filed for a Rs 1,600 crore (US$215.4 million) IPO on 12 August 12. Shortly prior, investor MakeMyTrip completely exited ixigo through a secondary sale, with eight times the returns on its US$4.8 million investment.

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