An emerging new market
At 42 percent, the share of online travel in Germany in 2017 was still below the European average, but roughly in line with the booming Indian and Chinese markets, Rogl notes. “It is foreseeable that the share of online bookings will continue to increase. In addition, travel agencies and call centers use modern booking systems and by no means book offline in the classic sense.” As Markus Feigelbinder, cofounder and COO of Munich travel tech firm Fineway, put it to news portal Munich Startup: “In five years, we will have reached the point where the instant trip planning we offer will be the norm and a completely new market will have emerged.”
Travel tech is not just about bookings, Rogl stresses. “It’s much more about personalization, online marketing and, increasingly, about new forms of dialogue such as chat and voice control,” he says. “Such technologies are already in use in Germany and in high demand.”
The Indian entrepreneur Naren Shaam is helping meet that demand. He founded Berlin-based GoEuro in 2013 to help tackle the problem of Europe’s fragmented transport infrastructure. The online platform allows users to find the fastest and cheapest travel options by train, bus and plane to thousands of cities, towns and villages across Europe. In 2019, the company changed its name to Omio to reflect its global ambitions.