As the world economy continues to recover, luxury expenditures like travel, both domestic and global, are on the rise. But the field of online travel booking is a competitive one, stocked with heavy hitters, and succeeding in the 21st century version of the industry takes careful planning.

"There are so many options for creating a web-based business," said Joseph Ferriolo, director of Wise Business Plans, which helps companies around the world plan for business success. "You have to decide how you'll make your money, whether it's through fees from travelers of from venues and service providers looking to have clients funneled their way. Maybe it's both. In any case, in such a competitive yet widely varying market, you have to plan to survive."

Ferriolo said travel websites must find a unique angle to stand out from hard-hitting competitors, but he stressed that it can be done.

"So many of the most promising markets offer strong competition," he said. "But with careful planning and a strong concept, you do not have to be afraid to go head-to-head with more established companies.

He said companies are succeeding by taking advantage of a trend toward localization that has been well-received by consumers.

"We live in an age of customization and socialization. Not only is customized travel a ripe market, but a customized business plan is expected by potential investors looking to support those travel companies."