The Top 20 companies that Dominate the World of Travel Agencies?

Long Haul Business Keeps Receptives an Active Part of List: In the just-released 2018 edition of the Travel Weekly Power List, one finds a confirmation of what has been happening to the tour and travel industry globally and, at the same time, some evidence that the conflation of wholesale and retail sales is keeping some receptive tour operators busy.

Some of the revelations that come with a review of review of the numbers in the list include the following:

—Online travel agencies Expedia and Booking Holdings (formerly the Priceline Group) saw their domination of the travel agency business grow. Expedia’s sales were up 21.5 percent over 2017 to $88 billion, while Booking’s brands increased sales by 20.7 percent to $81.6 billion. Together, the two OTAs generated as much turnover as did the rest of the companies in the Power List’s Top 20. (The Travel Weekly annual listing includes travel companies with at least $100 million in annual sales,)

—Overall, nearly every company on the list increased sales, although there were 10 fewer on the list than there were in 2017 (49 vs. 59), a reflection, in part, of continued consolidation in the industry—the most significant being last July’s merger of Travel Leaders Group and Altours.

—The unique positioning of some companies—doing both international outbound and inbound—keeps some receptive tour operators busy. Three U.S.-based operations of Japanese companies illustrate the point: JTB Americas (No. 17 on the list); H.I.S. USA Holdings (No. 28) and Kintetsu USA (No. 45). H.I.S. underscored the importance of the receptive sector during the past year with its acquisition of the largest receptive tour operator in Canada, Jonview Canada.

TW’s Notes on Methodology: To qualify for the Power List, a company had to have a minimum of $100 million in sales in 2017. For purposes of this survey, sales are defined as gross sales of travel products worldwide, whether to consumers or to corporate travelers; the company must be the merchant of record on the transaction from a supplier’s perspective.

At least 15 percent of the sales volume must have been generated in the U.S.

Early this year, the questionnaire was sent to companies that had appeared on the list in previous years; had been in the news because of acquisitions or had grown for other reasons; or had contacted Travel Weekly believing they qualified.

As has been the case for years, Travel Weekly requested that gross sales volume be certified by a company’s owner, CEO or CFO. In a small number of cases, certification was made by an executive at the vice president level but with financial oversight.

While all cooperating listees did certify sales (or made them public), it must be kept in mind that even those numbers are difficult to verify because the great majority of travel sellers are privately held and under no obligation to disclose financial data.

Also, there is no commonly accepted standard for calculating sales volume, and there is no clearinghouse in the U.S. that tracks nonairline sales, as the Airlines Reporting Corp. (ARC) does for airline sales.

Where possible, Travel Weekly sought to confirm accuracy in the figures by referring to other data and to articles published in the past year. We also reviewed responses for consistency and used whatever resources we had at our disposal to ensure accuracy.

The survey on which these rankings were based also included questions involving sales figures, ARC sales, travel-related subsidiaries, percentage of sales from business and leisure, corporate structure and others.

Interested in More? To review the entire Travel Weekly Power List feature material, visit:

To compare this year’s Power List with that of last year, visit: