OK I did say that I thought this would come out in the end and that March would be the tell tale month for the online agencies.
Have a look the latest numbers from ARC.
The green line is the one....
The dragging down of the whole Intermediary market in the USA has been driven by the falling traffic from the OTAs. Now down more than 10% for 2 months in a row.
This shows you why Expedia realized that the removal of a key airline partner destroyed the consumer proposition of neutrality. I believe we will see these numbers moderate and the loss of share by the OTAs go a little higher next month but still negative in comparison to last year. Thus the kiss and make up session was bound to happen.
HOWEVER - there has been some permanent damage done. The overall share loss by the OTAs as a whole may be lost for ever to the direct channels.
I wonder how Orbitz are feeling right now.