Revenue Management @en

The Universe of Tourist Distribution


14 March 2012 at 11:00, by

Article previously published in issue no. 451 of Tecnohotel Magazine.

The Universe of distribution, by dot.uve

Over the past 10 years the tourist sector has undergone a process of wholesale transformation that has contributed to the creation of a new map for the distribution and sales of tourist products and services. A new map that, although full of diverse channels that continuously give rise to new actors, hides what is really a map of old-fashioned and ever more concentrated power.

Multiple brands, business models and formulas for contracting hotels and contacting customers constitute an environment that is complex and difficult to understand, but one that it is necessary to understand in order to be competitive in the present-day management and marketing of a hotel.

We wanted to work on clarifying this dynamic environment for the new stage in which Tecnohotel is operating. In every issue we will continue presenting different perspectives on the map of tourist distribution and its main actors.

It is a challenge to present such complex and wide-ranging information in a way that is relevant and easy to understand at first sight yet also allows for different levels of interpretation. To do so, we chose an infographic, developed by Dot.Uve.

The main groups

In this first installment, we present the 11 largest global groups and their annual sales in millions of euros, based on 2010 figures.

Given that the information is dispersed and business results are not broken down, the research work is definitely complicated.  In most cases the sources were reports of annual results, especially with those companies that trade on the stock exchange. In some cases we had to resort to interviews with management, press clippings and even references to sales results by a company’s competitors.

After multiple reviews, we believe that while we cannot go so far as to attribute 100% certainty to the data, the global picture corresponds perfectly to the current reality of tourist distribution. To that end, in each group we only included those brands that we consider the most relevant for the global picture, leaving for future editions a complete map of each group.

In this first installment, we present the 11 global distribution groups in the format of  a universe, in which the central planet represents the total sales value of the group and the different colored orbits are their main brands according to business type.  In this way we can see the whole picture, from traditional travel agencies to OTAs (Open Travel Alliances), through consolidators, GDS (Global Distribution Systems) or travel communities.

What follows are some interesting aspects of this “distribution universe”:

  • The total sales of the 11 large global groups exceeds 100 million euros a year.
  • There are six European capital groups and five American.
  • Only the large European groups maintain relevant physical travel agency brands. (The Carlson Wagonlit model and its corporate focus is not considered in this case).
  • Expedia, with only 16 years of existence, has become the big winner of the online agency model with global reach, and with 90 brands around the world, it is the number 1 tourist distribution group.
  • Priceline, until its acquisition of Booking and Active hotels was located in 7th place among OTAs in the U.S. with minimum global influence, and today is the 4th group in global distribution and number 1 in growth.
  • ODIGEO, the first purely European group in capital and both brands and reach, enters the list with some muscle, based on its merger with eDreams, Opodo, Travellink and Go-Voyages, ranking as the world’s 8th tourist distribution group (5th in B2C, or Business-to-Customer, sales volume).

In the next installments of the Tourist Distribution Map, we will try to incorporate two additional perspectives.  Along with a view of global groups, we will add regional and national distribution groups in the three major world areas: Europe, America and Asia/Pacific.

As with everything in the new Tecnohotel, the distribution map aspires to be a living project in which the suggestions and impressions of readers, both in paper and online, continuously give it shape.

We urge you to participate in the debate, both on our web page,, and in e-mails to

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