22 September 2006

Does every bad penny come back up again?

In the category of what goes down must come up - check out www.cfares.com . Yes Vijid is at it again. Not content to blow some investors money - (Think excambria) he is back again trying to sell software to the gullible Travel Industry.

Far be it for me to say whether he is good or bad and we don’t impugn or condone that behavior - but from the positions I have sat and watched his behavior before - this is another potential train wreck. Do I have a grudge against Mr Jafri - actually I do. I watched him tie up a project I worked on in knots with a frivolous lawsuit (subsequently dismissed) that caused the principals in my project lose interest and cost them time and money focusing on his time wasting effort to derail our project in favor of his own.

Great anecdotal stories on his relationship with certain company based in Texas. But if I look at this I have to say that the model is flawed and unfortunately it goes straight into the bin. So whether the technology works or not is immaterial. Getting people to pony up subscriptions on the come for an untried and unproven product (by that I mean in the market place making consistent revenues for years at a time) I thought was, well, 90s. But if you can believe him that 1500 gullible souls have allegedly paid up subscriptions and Garage Ventures some extra cash - well I am sure this wont last long. But I have been proven wrong before (OK So Rakesh is still at Worldspan and I have eaten a hat but September isn’t over yet!). My proven point? This industry has the greatest percentage of unsmart people. I just hope that we can continue to be at least the one eyed man in this land of the seemingly blind.


20 September 2006

Business Fares - Fooee Don't Pay Retail

So who pays retail in business fares... well to some extent we all do. In a headline entitled: BUSINESS FARE SURVEY RESULTS MISLEADING Kevin Mitchell and the BTC challenged the Amex Annual fare study as being unrepresentative of the state of the market. Well if we are all paying retail then we are all 100% mad. But that is not the case (unless you are trying to get a room in New York this fall!!!) http://www.businesstravelcoalition.com/statements/5_yrs_later.doc

Kevin's point is valid - people don’t pay full retail. Amex's point is that fares are going up. They are both right. The real issue underneath all of this is one of my favorite topics - the creation and display of a true market fare. There is no decent benchmark for this in "official" terms but if you want to go and see it - go to the Orbitz Matrix and its right in front of you.

You would think that someone had figured this one out by now. But the game we all play - as consumers - is to find a best fare option. No one fare is the true lowest fare. The intersection of your need to go (desire) the fares available (shopping) the flexibility and the other people who want to go... coupled with the watching of the fares by the competitors and the desire for the airlines (and American Express) to sell the most at the overall highest price will always be sport. Herein lies another interesting debate. Does the simple solution of Southwest or the highly complex displays of Air Canada make it easier or harder on the consumer? Frankly if you try to confuse me - I will run away. (aka click away). So give me a straight story that is believable and I am much happier –I will trust you and buy from you. Somehow I don’t think I am that different from the vast majority of the buying public.

Oh yes and despite "being in the biz" I still have to buy a ticket about 90% of the time. And yes its hard and yes it is an unnecessarily complex transaction. But do we have a choice at present? No. Should we.... YES!

Long term if its too hard the consumer will go elsewhere. If you make it too hard and put too many barriers to purchase he will buy elsewhere OR a different product. Your $300 fare on the weekend can just as easily go to buying a lawnmower or a nice suit. Put that in your Revenue Management System!