Travel, while rewarding, can also be stressful. With so many options for flights, hotels, and rental cars, and so many variables that can quickly go wrong, it’s all too easy for a relaxing vacation or a productive business trip to quickly become harrowing and unnecessarily expensive.
Because of this, individual travelers and companies who require their employees to travel have been hiring experts to plan trips and handle unexpected hurdles for them for decades.
Now, thanks to the internet, travel companies have shifted to also providing tools for travelers to book their own trips with the same access, discounts, and assurance they’d receive if they hired an agent to do it all for them.
If you prefer to have someone do it all for you, though, many of these organizations still provide live service via their travel agents as well.
There are a number of these travel companies around the world, and in this article, you’ll find a list of the top ten ranked by sales revenue in 2019.
10 Largest Travel Companies in the World
Expedia Group. Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.
2019 Sales Revenue: $107.9 billion
Founded in 1996, Expedia Group is an online travel company that uses its online platforms to help travelers find flights, hotels, and other travel services without having to hire a travel agent. It has three business segments through which it serves individual customers, creates partnerships with businesses, and generates advertising revenue.
Expedia started out as a division of Microsoft. In 1996, Microsoft launched the website that is now Expedia.com as Microsoft Expedia Travel Services, one of the first online travel agencies. In 1999, Expedia was spun off into a public company.
Today, Expedia Group has a number of products, including BedandBreakfast.com, CarRentals.com, Egencia, Expedia.com, Expedia Partner Solutions, trivago, Travelocity, and Vrbo.
Booking Holdings. Norwalk, Connecticut, U.S.A.
2019 Sales Revenue: $96.4 billion
Formerly The Priceline Group, Booking Holdings was founded in 1997 with the launch of Priceline.com, an online travel website that used a bidding model for pricing. It then began to expand its portfolio by acquiring travel companies and changed its name to Booking Holdings in 2018.
Today, Booking Holdings operates through six brands: Dutch startup Booking.com, the company’s original Priceline platform, Singapore-based accommodation booking program Agoda, car hiring platform Rentalcars.com, travel search engine Kayak, and restaurant reservation provider OpenTable.
Through these brands, Booking Holdings operates in over 220 countries and in more than 40 languages, and it offers over 28 million accommodation listings, not to mention its service and transportation options.
American Express. Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.A.
2019 Sales Revenue: $34.1 billion
American Express Global Business Travel (referred to as GBT) is an organization that works with businesses to help them organize and manage their travel programs.
GBT helps clients easily find the best deals, book flights, hotels, and meeting venues, manage the risk that comes with their travel programs, and support travelers as they go in case their flights get canceled, or they run into other snags.
Even though GBT started as a part of American Express and has kept its name, the company is now a joint venture between American Express and several other investors.
GBT operates in about 140 countries and employs around 12,000 people.
BCD Travel. Utrecht, Netherlands
2019 Sales Revenue: $27.5 billion
Similar to GBT, BCD Travel offers travel consulting and management services to companies. BCD Travel operates in 109 countries and boasts a global client retention rate of 98%.
Founded in 2006, BCD Travel was born when BCD Group, a privately owned travel company that owns BCD Travel, purchased and combined TQ3 Travel Solutions Management Holding GmbH, The Travel Company, and WorldTravel BTI.
BCD Travel is based in Utrecht, Netherlands, but it also has its headquarter locations in Atlanta, London, and Singapore. It has one subsidiary, global meetings, and events agency called BCD Meetings and Events.
In addition to BCD Travel, BCD Group also owns Park ‘N Fly and Airtrade.
Carlson Wagonlit Travel. Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A.
2019 Sales Revenue: $24.8 billion
Originally called Carlson Wagonlit Travel, CWT is a travel management company that was founded in 1994. It serves businesses by providing business travel, meeting, conference, exhibition, incentives, and event management services.
These services are called CWT Energy, Resources and Marine, CWT Meetings and Events, CWTSatoTravel, CWT Solutions Group, and RoomIt by CWT.
CWT has clients in about 145 countries and employs 15,000 people, the vast majority of whom are women. CWT also serves over 33% of the companies in the SP 500 and just under 33% of those in the FTSE 100.
Flight Centre. Montvale, New Jersey, U.S.A.
2019 Sales Revenue: $16 billion
Flight Centre Travel Group is a travel agency that serves both leisure and corporate travelers. It was founded in 1982 in Sydney, Australia, and just 13 years later, the company opened locations in the U.K. and Canada.
FCTG arrived in the Americas in 1995 when it opened up a Flight Centre store in Canada, and it expanded into the U.S. in 2008 when it acquired Liberty Travel and into Mexico in 2015 when it acquired Koch Overseas de Mexico.
Now, FCTG brands in North America include FCM Travel Solutions, Corporate Traveler, Stage and Screen Travel Services, StudentUniverse, CIEVents, and 4th Dimension (4D) Business Travel Consulting.
Internova Travel Group. New York City, New York, U.S.A.
2019 Sales Revenue: $7.46 billion
Internova Travel Group was founded in 2008 and owns a variety of travel companies and agencies in over 80 countries. Its main markets are the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and Mexico.
Internova owns over 6,000 travel agencies and represents over 65,000 travel advisors. Internova’s services include luxury leisure and premium corporate travel products, hosting, franchising, and meetings and incentives advisory.
Some of Internova’s brands include Travel Leaders Corporate, Altour, Travel Leaders Network, Protravel International, Travel Leaders Vacation Center, Tzell Travel Group, CruCon Cruise Outlet, Roadtrips, Nexion Travel Group, R. Crusoe and Son, In the Know Experiences, Your Event Solutions, and Cruise Specialists.
American Express. New York City, New York, U.S.A.
2019 Sales Revenue: $6.93 billion
American Express Travel is an online travel booking platform that allows customers to plan and book their vacations. Unlike the similarly named American Express Global Business Travel, it is a subsidiary of American Express Company.
While you don’t have to have an American Express credit card to use these services, customers who have cards earn points on their purchases, and American Express Platinum cardholders avoid a variety of service fees and access bonuses such as vacation package discounts, dining credits, and room upgrades.
American Express Travel also offers live travel agents available 24/7 to help customers with any travel snafus or questions they may have.
American Express has been helping its customers travel from the beginning, as it created the Travelers Cheque in 1891 and helped its customers who were stranded abroad at the outbreak of WWI return home safely.
Direct Travel. Centennial, Colorado, U.S.A.
2019 Sales Revenue: $5.8 billion
Direct Travel is a travel management company that focuses its efforts on middle-market customers. It offers corporate travel, meeting and event, and leisure travel services.
Founded in 1980, Direct Travel has over 60 locations in the U.S. and Canada. Since its founding, the company has acquired several leisure travel companies, one of which, Satrom Travel and Tour, Inc., became Direct Travel Personalized Experiences in 2016.
In 2017, Direct Travel grew its Canadian presence when it merged with major Canadian travel management company Vision Travel, Inc.
Fareportal. New York City, New York, U.S.A.
2019 Sales Revenue: $5.34 billion
While its services are travel-related, Fareportal is first and foremost a technology company. It has five travel brands that it powers through its software and flight booking technology.
Fareportal operates in North America, Europe, and Asia, offering online booking platforms for both leisure and corporate travelers, 24/7 trip booking services, and live travel agents available to help customers in a variety of locales and languages.
Fareportal partners with more than 600 airlines, one million hotels, and hundreds of car agencies to provide customers with the best options available.
Brands in the Fareportal family include Duke’s Court Travel, Ltd., Royal Scenic, Travelong, Fareportal Media Group, OneTravel, and CheapOair.
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