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ITB Berlin Convention 2015

Global online travel: Darren Houston of Priceline Group on the future

Darren Houston describes the work of technology enterprises in the online travel market as “incredibly complex, extremely dynamic and lightning fast. Investing only makes sense if the product is good.” This is a view surely not just shared by the CEO of the “sleeping giant“ Priceline Group, a name given by Phocuswright founder Philip C. Wolf at the ITB Convention Talk. Priceline is a global player. Houston has more than 13,000 employees who currently stand for six brands in a hotly contested market.

Uber, provider of mobility services, is a threat to the car industry, not the taxi sector

In 2012 Uber had a worldwide workforce of around 70. Within two years this had risen to 2,200, and this innovative mobility and ride-sharing company was arranging more than 140 million journeys in 70 cities around the world (including Singapore, Paris and San Francisco, and after the USA its largest market is in India).

The sharing economy: is it just hype or a paradigm shift in tourism?


“This is only the start“, says an enthusiastic April Rinne about the topic she is addressing. The young lady has visited 87 countries and works in Amsterdam and Seoul as an advisor on the sharing economy. At the ITB Future Day of the ITB Berlin Convention she explains the effect of the sharing economy on tourism by quoting the example of four fictitious tourists. “Imagine yourself in your career role and then looking around as a traveller”, she says to the audience. “The sharing economy is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to think about the tourists in the city you live in.

Authentic travel experiences – the sharing economy

Sharing things rather than owning them has become a major trend in the global economy. The aim of the sharing economy is to achieve added value and growth without further exploiting resources. In the travel industry this trend mainly concerns the hospitality industry and local forms of transport in the shape of car and bicycle sharing, couch surfing and providing apartment space.

Mongolia: turning tourism into a major part of the economy

The statistics are encouraging. In 2014 Mongolia registered 400,000 visitors, marking a new record. More than 60 per cent usually come to visit cultural attractions and historical sites and 42 per cent to enjoy the scenery and natural attractions. 60 per cent of those who have been to the country say they want to return. Over the past years German tourist numbers have been generally close to 10,000. Tourism accounts for 5.3 per cent of GDP.

Mobile usage is dominating the travel market – easy, quick and relevant information on one page


The mobile travel market is flourishing. This was illustrated impressively by Expedia Market Manager Arne Erichsen at the ITB Berlin Convention 2015. By 2020 there will be around 18 billion mobile devices in use. India and other Asian countries in particular are responsible for the high increase in numbers. They already rank second in the mobile device market and are 650 per cent larger than the  third largest market. In Germany the market is growing too, said Erichsen. In 2016 mobile devices will be used to book one in every five overnights in Germany, twice as many as in 2013.