Large travel players are expected to grab a slice of peer-to-peer action as the sharing economy gains traction.
This is one of the findings of the WTM Global Trends Report 2013 which says 'cost-conscious' European travellers are driving P2P services forward with strong growth recorded on the continent.
The WTM report, carried out with Euromonitor International, says these marketplaces offer 'authentic experiences at affordable prices' and now cover accommodation, car-sharing and tours and activities.
The study points to TripAdvisor's acquisition of FlipKey in 2008 as well as its listing AirBnB and HouseTrip as trusted partners for vacation rental as a sign of the burgeoning sector.
More recently, Avis acquired car sharing service ZipCar for $500m.
And, the tours and activities marketplace sector has also been high profile recently with AirBnB's plan to let hosts sell tours and Groupon acquiring SideTour, a service matching travellers with local experts.
Lastminute has also been dabbling in the sector with a plan to integrate TripBod following an email trial.
A cautionary note comes from HouseTrip boss Arnaud Bertrand who says the future of peer-to-peer marketplaces will depend much on legislation.
His comments are echoed by Expedia chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi who during Q3 results last week shared some thoughts on prospects for the sharing economy.
AirBnB's challenges with US legislators are fairly well documented.
The Global Trends report concludes that with a prediction from Forbes that peer-to-peer marketplaces will increase revenue by 25% in 2013, larger travel companies will not want to be left out on the cold.
NB: Group hug image via Shutterstock.