When you're up against not only Google but also all the other potential competitors for traveller eyeballs, you have to keep evolving or go home.
A year ago, did anyone think Snapchat would have overtaken Twitter in active users or that more videos would be played on the messaging service than on Facebook?
Probably not - so, just as travel companies have to keep an eye on each other, they also have to keep an eye on potential challenges from other directions.
The landscape has become complex. See below (with apologies for poor quality).
The slide was flashed up at the Amadeus Merchandising, Digital & Travel Intelligence Conference in Italy last week, to demonstrate how airlines need to keep their brand visible in the fast evolving space.
Naturally, the distribution giant has technology for that. It has launched Instant Search, after piloting the service with a couple of airlines including Lufthansa last year.
It's described as a "major" evolution of Affinity Shopper, the inspiration service launched back in 2009 to help travellers decide where to go and the company claims 'blink of an eye" response time.
The service was introduced by Marc Charrier, Amadeus head of digital product management, who describes it as "beefing up the inspiration step by putting in place use cases that your competitors do well."
"It allows massive storage of your content that gets updated very frequently to ensure high quality. It helps brand to be visible in the digital landscape and influences conversion rate at the very early stage of the search."
It means potential travellers not only see price and the best time to go details but also additional content such as wifi availability, type of aircraft and airport information.
Amadeus says customers have seen improved conversion rates by one percentage point as well as a spike in organic traffic using the technology.
United Airlines used some of the power of Instant Search to develop an Apple TV service which was demonstrated at SXSW in March.
In short, the prototype, built by Amadeus, uses mobile devices and the TV to enable users to pick out destinations shown in a film or series and find out more on how to get there in terms of flight prices, accommodation and tours and activities.
United Airlines ecommerce director Jacob Guerra says the carrier wants to be part of the consumer's daily life:
"We don't want you to feel you have to reach out. The number one issue with planning travel is that it takes a lot of research. We want to take that process out and integrate in daily life. Technology like instant search (and massive search) make it easily accessible. It's bridging that gap between dreaming and making it a reality."
While the airline is now hoping to make the prototype into a product, one of its more immediate success metrics is how well it was received during SXSW, where according to an Adweek article, United Airlines was fourth after Snapchat, Samsung and Google.
To paraphrase Guerra - quite an achievement for a traditional industry which is not perceived as right up there in tech terms.
NB: Disclosure - the author's attendance at the event was supported by Amadeus.
NB2: Image via Big Stock Photo