According to a report from UK travel search site Skyscanner, Estonia, Madagascar and Iraq emerge as travel hot spots for UK travelers. Spain is, as always, a favorite among vacationers in Britain, but non-traditional destinations are headlining Summer travel so far.
Travel and tourism in the digital world is branching out in “pioneer” fashion more and more these days. One startup we took a look at today, GetYourGuide, illustrates vividly what is possible with the right people behind an endeavor. GetYourGuide, founded in 2008, is a development that has been hard at work becoming the digital world’s tour and specialty activity “go to” platform.
For all those investors who emailed to ask me if the American Airlines slash Orbitz fight would be a game changer, the news today of skyrocketing Orbitz stock prices is as good an answer as any. Orbitz Worldwide Inc. bounced shares upward on an Illinois court reversal of their case against American Airlines. The court ordered American to resume selling flights via the online travel agency.
Orbitz continues celebrating their 10 Year Anniversary with some exclusive deals for their customers. For the Summer, Orbitz is offering discounted International Flights, and International hotel deals. Be sure and check out Argo’s “Quick Booking” evaluation.
In travel news from Germany, online travel giant Sabre Group has announced the launch of a social networking platform here in Germany. AgentStream is theoretically designed for travel agents in Germany to be able to engage the social web, at least this is what the over four thousand global participants at AgentStream hope. But aside the obvious PR push of this, is the platform really all that social? It looks more like a push to keep up with Travelport than anything.
In airline travel news, US Airways just announced the signing of a multi year contract for full content distribution and merchandising with Sabre Travel Network. This latest news, pertinent to the ongoing wars between the various online agents and service providers, is at least a positive sign for global distribution players.
Just about every news outlet in Europe is all a buzz about private equity firm Axa, and Permira headed for a deal to buy Amadeus’ Opodo. The OTA started in Germany in 2001, if the deal goes through as suggested, will be worth between $500 and $700 million. An unnamed source at Amadeus IT Holding SA told Reuters the sketch details of the negotiations.
Some really great online travel sites never even get mentioned. What with all the stories about American Airlines, Google, Expedia, Orbitz, Microsoft, even Bing, how is the consumer ever to know who the best is. What we often see is not innovation or anything approaching the best, it’s marketing and big business.
The Justice Department stands poised to nix Google’s acquisition of ITA proprietary software as FairSearch and other entities press the issue. Is Google becoming a monopoly? This is the overriding question on the minds of consumers, but what is on the government’s mind, this is what counts. With American Airlines’ recent ITA deal, exactly how will the Justice Department deal with the immense pressures being leveled? This online travel war is a far bigger confrontation than many realize.
American Airlines started an online ticket war late last year they may not be able to finish. Now Amadeus is firing warning shots across the cockpits of airlines poised to go it via “direct connect” rather than relying on OTA’s to sell seats. In a bold but quiet move, one of the world’s biggest travel players takes sides with Expedia and Orbitz.
The recent war between online travel agents and major airlines heats up still more. But for the travel consumer, how will all this soap opera posturing effect prices and value? The answer is fairly simple, prices will go up, and services will go down. The trend to cut everything from jet fuel to aspirin is in place, and only a paradigm shift can alter that. Comparison pricing is the only consumer weapon for value. Expedia, Google, American Airlines, the customer, what is best for business only the customer can say.
The shakeup for air travel bookings online continues today with American Airlines’ contention that their ticket sales have never been better – even without Orbitz and Expedia. The airline neglects to point out an email marketing initiative instigated simultaneously with dumping Orbitz, and the fact that ticket sales for every airline have risen these last few days. What is the customer to make of supposedly trusted travel partners when low blows are the trend?