Travel

Skift’s Top 12 Travel Research Reports of 2023



Skift Take

Did you miss some of our Skift Research reports during a busy year? Have no fear! We’ve gone back and hand-picked our favorite 12 must-read reports for the year.

Skift Research produces a wide range of reports, surveys, and data tools – we published more than 50 reports in 2023, a record for us.

Certain reports always stand out: Some were popular with readers, some highlight proprietary insights, and some are just hold a sweet spot in our analysts’ hearts.

We picked 12 of our best reports that highlight new technology, online travel, hotels, airlines, consumer insights, and data products.

New Technology

1.

Generative AI’s Impact on Travel 

Artificial intelligence is on everyone’s lips these days. We promise you: It will come up at least once with family over the holidays. This report was the first in our industry to examine what generative AI could mean for the business of travel. It offers several cases studies and estimates that altogether this tech could represent a $28 billion-plus opportunity for the travel industry.

Online Travel

2.

Hopper’s Rise in Travel 2023

Hopper has emerged seemingly overnight as the most disruptive booking platform in all of travel. Hopper is leading the way in online travel innovation and forcing everyone else to keep up. How does it do it? How big is it? Where is Hopper headed next? Based on our conversations with senior executives, much of the data and analysis presented in this report is not publicly available anywhere. This report lets you peek under the hood of the most exciting business in online travel.

3.

A Deep Dive into Google Travel Part I: U.S. Hotel Distribution

We web-scraped 5,000 hotels across Google to understand the current state of the online distribution landscape in the U.S. Our analysis found that Google’s actions are allowing small OTAs, new entrants, and direct sites to compete head-on with the legacy players. Could this help weaken the duopolistic distribution power long-held by Booking Holdings and Expedia Group?

4.

This report looks at how online travel booking habits changed during the pandemic and how these behaviors will continue to evolve in 2023 and beyond. We find that many pandemic-era booking habits are not sticking. In particular, the pendulum seems to be swinging back to third-party distribution channels after a strong COVID-era run of direct bookings. We also look at specific booking site market share shifts and investigate whether the trip planning process shifted.

Hotels

5.

Battle of the Midscales: Wyndham vs Choice in 20 Charts

Choice Hotel’s hostile takeover bid for Wyndham is the hot hotel drama to watch in 2024. That makes our report comparing the two from August 2023, before the acquisition offer, feel prescient. Use this easy to read 20-chart report to get up to speed on these businesses and learn why midscale hotels are such a popular market today.

6.

Progress in Sustainability: Hotel Company Analysis 2023

We continued to build on our hotel sustainability work in 2023. This report covers the largest hotel companies, most of which have now set or submitted science-based targets to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. This is an improvement over just a few years ago, although there are still some laggards. Our analysis finds that the Covid pandemic has been a major distorter of performance, but on the whole, companies seem on target for their emissions reduction in scopes 1 and 2. Reporting on scope 3 emissions is improving, but inconsistencies remain. As franchises fall under this scope, it becomes increasingly important that companies have good targets and reporting.

7.

Hotel Tech Benchmark: Booking Engines, Website Builders, and Direct Booking Tools 2023

Skift Research has an ongoing series of hotel tech benchmarks covering most aspects of modern hospitality operations. True hotel tech nerds will love diving deep into all of them. But our favorite from this year was on the current and future growth potential of booking engines, website builders, and direct booking tools. This is critical tech to help hotels with their direct booking strategy and are an essential part of a modern hotel sales & marketing tech stack. 

Airlines

8.

The Business of Airline Loyalty Programs 2023

The old joke goes that airlines are just credit card loyalty plans that also happen to fly planes. Now, of course, that’s not entirely correct but it does hold a seed of truth. Loyalty programs are incredibly important to the success of an airline. In this report, we launch our first Airline Loyalty Assessment Model where we look at some of the best and the most highly-rated loyalty programs in the world. This model allows us to compare and rank loyalty programs and draw insights into how each program performs. 

Consumer Surveys

9.

The Luxury Traveler: Survey Findings

Elusive yet desirable, the luxury traveler is perhaps the most sought after consumer demographic in our business. This report reveals the preferences of affluent travelers in the U.S., exploring motivations, planning methods, destination choices, and spending habits.

10.

Understanding the Chinese Traveler Post-Covid: Survey Findings and Trends

154 million Chinese travelers went abroad in in 2019, more than any other nationality. Today that figure is ~85% of what it once was. The industry is left asking itself when are Chinese tourists coming back? This report arms destinations and suppliers with insights into how Chinese traveler behavior has changed since the pandemic so that they can prepare themselves for the return of the world’s largest travel market. 

11.

India on the Move: A Traveler Survey

If you’re over waiting for the return of Chinese travelers then maybe you want to watch the rise of the Indian traveler. Sporting a strong economy and a large English-speaking population – it has officially surpassed China to be the world’s largest country – could India be the next heavy-weight in outbound tourism? This report, “India on the move,” aptly captures the spirit of a nation in motion, where its status as the world’s most populous country aligns with a surging desire among its people to explore new horizons.

Data

12.

Skift Travel 200

Travel is one of the world’s largest industries, isn’t it time we started acting like it? The S&P 500 index quickly captures the stock price performance of some of America’s largest companies. The Nasdaq tells us how the tech sector is doing. But – until now – there has been no index for the travel industry. The Skift Travel 200 stock index is the first benchmark to measure the $1 trillion-plus market for public travel companies. It tracks travel company stock performance, as well as key metrics, including revenue growth and profit margins.

If you’re not a subscriber yet, sign up to Skift Research to get access to all of the above reports, as well as all the exciting research the team will produce in 2024. 



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