Saturday, 24 November 2007

Online Travel Distribution Consolidation

There is looming some consolidation in the online travel distribution space. I have commented on this before in Who's next to acquire travel distribution on the 2nd October but I thought that it was worth just noting some further thoughts as I believe there is likely to be some consolidation in a addition before the acquisition of distribution.

Current Facts…..

Advertising is getting more sophisticated in travel.

The OTA’s are getting by passed to book and need to add more value.

Travel Meta Search engines are established

Travel Social networks being established with advertising

There is now more consumer reviews to read then ever before

What’s next…….

OTA’s , Social Travel Networks, Travel Meta Search Engines will consolidate

Advertising for travel companies will be much more targeted with companies predicting the buying patterns of people using data gathered from users using the consolidated websites and giving them the option of either putting them in touch or booking with the travel companies. Either way earning a fee of some kind

And then……

Travel companies will acquire their distribution channels to secure distribution

Who is going to make the next move? Here are some random suggestions……..

  • Expedia will buy or build a true travel social network in US / EU to supplement their portfolio – WAYN?
  • TUI will make a bold move and buy/merge/be bought by Priceline or Expedia within the next 3 years to be the first mega vertical travel company.
  • Opodo will change their model to include referral fees following Expedia and will be bought by Thomas Cook (who are not as strong online in flights)
  • Meta search engines will consolidate - Cheapflights could be bought by Travelsupermarket
  • Teletext will spun out from the media group and be bought by a company that has the technology and money but needing their travel advertising relationships
  • will be bought by Priceline Europe for it's neat technology and broaden it's offering.