THE BLOG

Reflections on the Online Travel Business (and Happy Birthday Hotwire!)

The online travel industry has seen great innovation in the last fifteen years, most remarkably in customer experience and enabling travelers to get up and go, and we look forward to being part of the next fifteen and beyond.
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The online travel industry has seen great innovation in the last fifteen years, most remarkably in customer experience and enabling travelers to get up and go, and we look forward to being part of the next fifteen and beyond. As Hotwire celebrates its fifteenth birthday, its been a great opportunity to look back at the great strides the travel industry has made since 2000, and what the future holds.

We've come a long way in the last fifteen years. Perhaps the biggest and most important stride the travel industry has made in that time is making the overall customer experience so much smoother. And while many of the companies that have thrived are technology based, they're not thriving just because of technology, but because technology is creating a better experience for the consumer. Not only is the information available to consumers today better, but the booking process is intuitive and seamless and prices are quite transparent. The confidence this gives travelers to knowledgeably research and plan any trip they want to take, from a multi-week odyssey across India to a spontaneous three-day weekend in New Orleans to something completely unplanned, is incredible.

Because customers are so empowered to find and book what they want and when they want it, Hotwire is the ideal site for the spontaneous traveler who wants to take those last-minute getaways. We offer deals that make those trips attainable, and we pour our heart and soul into something that travelers care deeply about - probably more so than any other part of their trip--where they stay when they're away. We've worked hard as the market has evolved, we've upgraded our Hot Rate® offerings across our full range of products and on mobile devices our deals are right at travelers' fingertips. We are better positioned now than we ever have been to deliver on our brand promise to empower people to take more trips.

What do I think the future holds?

More spontaneous, shorter trips - As the pace of life continues to speed up, more and more people are choosing shorter, last-minute weekend trips vs. planning long elaborate getaways. Nearly three-quarters of Hotwire customers' hotel bookings are within a week of departure and more than 90 percent for the last 12 months are for four days or less. Travelers will continue to redefine what "vacation" means, and Hotwire will continue to evolve to help people enrich their lives through travel.

Continued shift towards digital - Mobile is going to be the dominant booking device by far, and we'll continue to see innovation in wearables and other new gizmos. We already see that more travelers are booking on mobile, and that trend will continue to grow. Mobile apps and browsers enable instantaneous travel plans from anywhere, at any time.

More Millennials - As the Millennial generation continues to evolve, make more money, start having families etc., we'll see them travel even more. And this is a generation that loves to share their experiences with others, which will just continue to enrich the information that is available and out there for travelers.

At Hotwire, we truly do consider ourselves to be the ultimate travel geeks. We are people who want to be spontaneous and take those last-minute trips, and we've made it our mission to enable our customers to do the same. By helping enable people to be slightly adventurous, they're traveling more and having more enriching life experiences. And what's a better future than that?