03 July 2010

Occasional Flashes of Brilliance... and Fear

Today was not a good day for the South American Football Teams. The passion and the sheer drive of the Latins were sadly no match for the methodical onslaught of the Europeans. Well at least that's how the German's played - wearing down Maradonna's mob.

And so it would seem to be for some of the traditional power houses of travel. Google's onslaught puts them now in a very commanding position in sector that will be hard to unseat them - or avoid the long shadow they now cast. As I noted in the TNooz panel - the ITA purchase puts them in a commanding position in many facets of the travel ideation through purchase.

As PhocusWright noted "they claim to be building something that the industry has never seen before." And this is because they are now in a commanding position with more fingers in more pies than any other player - end to end.

But perhaps one of the biggest elements as far as I am concerned is that they have the ability to fundamentally change the rules as far as data quality and assured price offers. The veneer of "its good enough" has now changed and this is where the the old model will expire in the face of better technology as well as a solid business model.

So let me leave you with one thought. If you examine who has been making more money out of travel over the past 5 years 0 the fattest cats are the GDSs. Followed closely by Google. Those large EBITDAs quoted for Amadeus are now in the cross hairs of the boy wonders.

If anyone doubts that the GDS revenue stream was not one of the driving forces for Google - then they are clearly naive. So correctly the meta search players - as distinct from those who are active in real search and the legacy GDS players are to me the most vulnerable.

The formation of the OpenAxis group and the announcement of its formation on the day that Google announced its acquisition of ITA can hardly be seen as disconnected.

Be afraid - be very afraid if that is the game you are in.


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