Digital technology and disruptive innovation have empowered organisations of all sizes to toss their hats into the competitive arena and leverage opportunities for expansion and growth. Travel industry research firm Phocuswright forecasts global online bookings will grow to $567 billion this year, an increase of $54 billion from 2016. Because e-commerce has a global reach, being competitive isn’t optional — it’s imperative for business relevancy. To thrive, today’s travel organizations must venture into new territory, but in a prudent, savvy manner. The key is to adhere to new best practices and trends while adopting a “think global, act local” business protocol. Here are a few things to consider when planning for international expansion. Define the Expansion Strategy The organisation’s expansion strategy should hinge on the business’ complexity, risk tolerance, strategic objectives, and sense of urgency. Whether the plan is to open operations onsite or enter the market remotely, schedule a comprehensive visit to the area. Having first-hand experience will provide insight into local culture and help to inform decision making. Boost Market Knowledge The organisation should conduct a comprehensive market analysis to identify opportunities for revenue growth and operational improvements. In addition, Sabre recommends conducting thorough research into required accreditation and local regulations. Respect Cultural Differences Understanding cultural differences and communicating to customers within those social norms is important for creating positive customer experiences that lead to revenue generation. Ensure the business has accurate translations of product information and the program logic to handle currency conversions and payment methods. Also consider other location-specific requirements, including local service fees, special fare calculations, and passenger name regulations. Today presents an exciting and advantageous time to consider expanding your travel business to leverage the benefits of market growth and globalisation. When exploring new market opportunities, be vigilant in the pursuit of information. Doing so is key to making the best, and most profitable, international expansion decisions. These considerations are just the beginning. For in-depth information on international expansion, download Sabre’s new white paper,International Expansion: The How, Where and What of Growing Your Travel Business.”