Digital Innovation in Europe is Catching Up

Published January 2018

By: Michael Coletta, Manager, Research and Innovation, Phocuswright

In some ways, Europe is on the forefront of digital travel, having emerged over the last few years boasting the highest online booking penetration of any region globally. But when it comes to digital innovation, the continent has some catching up to do.

Of the $62B in funding and acquisitions Phocuswright tracked from 2005-1H17 in The State of Travel Startups 2017, only 7% originated from Europe. North America accounted for 38% (led by the U.S.), and APAC recently jumped ahead to 52% (led by China).

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So, for a continent leading in online bookings, where's the support of digital innovation?

Turns out it is alive and well, but as with online bookings, just a bit behind the curve (and ready to catch up).

Investments of around $100M or much more have gone into companies such as GetYourGuide, GoEuro, HouseTrip, Secret Escapes and SilverRail. Plus, Ctrip's purchase of Skyscanner for $1.7B, Expedia's procurement of a majority stake in trivago for $600M, Priceline's $550M acquisition of Momondo, and Accor's acquisition of onefinestay for almost $200M not so long ago have shown that indeed big success stories are possible in Europe.

Phocuswright Europe showcases the region's young and promising travel startups harnessing the latest innovations such as artificial intelligence and blockchain. Case in point: conichi, a seamless travel solution for corporate travelers, which at the May 2017 Phocuswright Battleground: EMEA won "EMEA Travel Innovator of the Year" and the "People's Choice Award," then went on to be honored in November at Summit at The Phocuswright Conference as the runner-up for the "Award for Travel Innovation - Startup Category."

Hear Max Waldmann, founder of conichi, talk about the impact that the visibility of the Phocuswright Innovation Platform has had in helping him win large global clients and catapult his company forward:

Calling All Innovators!

Is your company creating the future of digital travel in Europe, the Middle East or Africa? Apply today to pitch and compete at the 2018 Battleground: EMEA (for startups) or Launch: EMEA (for established companies) on Europe's biggest stage for travel industry innovation.