Skift’s Top 12 in Travel Research for 2023

Change Take

Did you miss any of our Skift Research reports during the busy year? Do not be afraid! We’ve gone back and picked our favorite 12 must-read reports of the year.

— Seth Borko

Skift Research produces a wide range of reports, studies and data tools – we published more than 50 reports in 2023, which is a record for us.

Some reports always stand out: Some were popular with readers, some highlight proprietary insights, and some just hold a sweet spot in our analysts’ hearts.

We’ve selected 12 of our best reports that highlight new technology, online travel, hotels, airlines, consumer insights and data products.

New technology


The impact of generative AI on travel

Artificial intelligence is on everyone’s lips these days. We promise: It will make an appearance at least once with the family during the holidays. This report was the first in our industry to explore what generative AI could mean for the travel business. He offers several case studies and forecasts that overall this technology could represent an over $28 billion opportunity for the travel industry.

Online travel


The Rise of Hopper in Travel 2023

Hopper has seemingly overnight become the most disruptive booking platform in all of travel. Hopper is at the forefront of online travel innovation and forcing everyone else to keep up. How does he do it? How big is it? Where is Hopper headed next? Based on our conversations with senior executives, much of the data and analysis presented in this report is not publicly available anywhere. This report gives you a peek under the hood of the most exciting business in online travel.


Google Travel Deep Dive Part I: US Hotel Breakdown

We surveyed 5,000 hotels on Google to understand the current state of online distribution in the US. Our analysis found that Google’s actions allow small OTAs, new entrants and direct sites to compete directly with legacy players. Could this help weaken the duopoly distribution power long held by Booking Holdings and Expedia Group?


This report examines how online travel booking habits have changed during the pandemic and how these behaviors will continue to evolve in 2023 and beyond. We’re finding that many pandemic-era booking habits aren’t sticking. In particular, the pendulum seems to be swinging back to third-party distribution channels after the strong run of direct bookings since the COVID era. We also look at changes in the market share of specific booking sites and examine whether the travel planning process has changed.



Battle of the Midscales: Wyndham vs. Choice in 20 rankings

Choice Hotel’s hostile takeover bid for Wyndham is the hot hotel drama to watch in 2024. That makes our report comparing the two from August 2023, before the takeover bid, seem prescient. Use this easy-to-read report with 20 charts to familiarize yourself with these businesses and learn why mid-range hotels are such a popular market today.


Sustainability Advances: Hotel Company Analysis 2023

We continued to build on our hotel sustainability work in 2023. This report covers the largest hotel companies, most of which have already set or submitted science-based targets to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. This is an improvement over just a few years ago, although there are still some lags. Our analysis finds that the Covid pandemic has been a major performance distortion, but overall companies appear to have achieved their scope 1 and 2 emissions reduction targets. Scope 3 emissions reporting is improving, but gaps remain. As franchises fall into this scope, it becomes increasingly important for companies to have good goals and accountability.


Hotel Tech Benchmark: Booking Engines, Website Builders and Direct Booking Tools 2023

Skift Research has an ongoing series of hotel technology benchmarks covering most aspects of modern hotel operations. True hotel tech geeks will love diving deep into all of them. But our favorite this year was about the current and future growth potential of booking engines, website builders and direct booking tools. It is a critical technology that helps hotels with their direct booking strategy and is an essential part of the modern hotel sales and marketing technology suite.



The Business of Airline Loyalty Programs 2023

The old joke is that airlines are just credit card loyalty plans that happen to fly planes. Now, of course, this is not entirely correct, but it contains a grain of truth. Loyalty programs are extremely important to the success of an airline. In this report, we launch our first airline loyalty rating model, where we look at some of the best and highest rated loyalty programs in the world. This model allows us to compare and rank loyalty programs and gain insight into how each program is performing.

User research


The luxury traveler: Survey results

Elusive yet desirable, the luxury traveler is perhaps the most sought-after consumer demographic in our business. This report reveals the preferences of US affluent travelers by examining motivations, planning methods, destination choices and spending habits.


Understanding the post-COVID Chinese traveler: Survey findings and trends

154 million Chinese travelers went abroad in 2019, more than any other nationality. Today, that figure is ~85% of what it once was. The industry is left asking when will Chinese tourists return? This report arms destinations and suppliers with insights into how Chinese traveler behavior has changed since the pandemic so they can prepare for the return of the world’s largest travel market.


India on the Move: A Traveler’s Survey

If you overstay your welcome return of Chinese travelers, then you might want to watch rise of the Indian traveller. With a strong economy and a large English-speaking population – it has officially surpassed China as the world’s largest country – could India be the next heavyweight in outbound tourism? This report, India on the Move, aptly captures the spirit of a nation on the move, where its status as the world’s most populous country is matched by a growing desire among its people to explore new horizons.



Switch Travel 200

Travel is one of the biggest industries in the world, isn’t it time we started acting like it? The S&P 500 index quickly captures the stock price performance of some of America’s largest companies. The Nasdaq tells us how the tech sector is doing. But until now there has been no index for the tourism industry. The Skift Travel 200 Stock Index is the first benchmark to measure the over $1 trillion market for public travel companies. It tracks the performance of travel company stocks as well as key metrics including revenue growth and profit margins.

If you’re not already a subscriber, sign up for Skift Research to get access to all the above reports, as well as all the exciting research the team will be doing in 2024.

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