18 August 2009

Changes In India - Sabre buys Travelguru

Sabre's subsidiary Travelocity yesterday purchased Travelguru one of the big 4 India OTA sites. The product has been re-branded with Travelocity like visuals. A thank you to Professor Naveen for this one.

This leaves the other players as potential targets for Expedia and Orbitz/Blackstone.

The big Kahuna is Makemytrip who has managed to maintain a two part business model - domestic sales and then inbound sales. Cleartrip and Yatra make up the other candidates. There are a squillion other players but these are the ones that matter.

It will be interesting to see whether the buying frenzy starts or if the likely purchasers sit on the side lines. Expedia's local efforts have been somewhat lost - their supplier relations muscle is driven from outside India sales. Orbitz has no real market footprint. Of course there are other reasons for getting a local footprint - Travel is still a footprint product so the media companies are very likely to be watching the developments closely.

The dynamics of the Indian market have changed in the past year or so with first the fuel prices and now the recession biting hard into the local airlines. Deccan has disappeared, Jet absorbed a smaller competitor and the unthinkable - Jet and Kingfisher are cooperating extensively. The National airlines too have merged under a single Air India brand but the bloated overmanning and waste continues. Air India even had to ban overweight flight attendants! Thus the proliferation of airlines has rationalized somewhat and the OTAs in my opinion need to do the same.

That said - if they could monetize the whole thing well - the transaction volumes at the big 4 OTAs in the market are very healthy. Like so many things today - it is the yields that suck!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In addition to above 4 as mentioned there are plenty doing the regular sales. One which has slightly diff focus like hotel and packages on small and lesser known highly localized destination is IHR or IndiaHotelReview.com.
There UI on old pages sucks but brings in depth hotel results for places not imagined.