This week the travel industry’s antiquated but huge distribution giant Travelport showed off a new look that has industry insiders anticipating the company’s new systems rollout. Will the company really ditch Worldspan, Galileo, and Apollo for a more congruent and integrated back-end tech? This is the big question on everybody’s mind.
As Travelport unveils its new visual identity that CEO Greg Webb says reflects the company’s coming transformation but is this just part of a PR and marketing campaign? Or, can Travelport finally do what the industry begged the company to do years ago?
Webb, who was formerly a VP for Oracle and Vice Chairman at Sabre, was cited by PhocusWire saying his company is focusing on staying “true to our core”, while adding value and streamlining for clients. But much of the focus for Webb and Co. is on speed. His background is as a big brain marketer, which for me explains the new paint and brightwork on Travelport’s redux.
Maybe I was in the PR game too long, but Travelport is going to have to produce more than a few bells and whistles to make the company pleasing to hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer, who runs Elliott Management Corporation, which bought Travelport back in 2019. Singer is all about tough money management, and Travelport has some stiff competition. And let me say this, looking at the cheap video Travelport’s marketing geniuses created, does not imbue a sense of confidence in the new tech in me. Stock photos and some Aussie accent? Come on.
The real story here is, Travelport has to turn a big profit, and soon, or past troubles will come back to haunt or doom the company. Elliot just launched a new IPO Elliott Opportunity II Corp. to raise half a billion in new investment, according to this U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing five days ago. I presume this fund is for taking care of Travelport’s new technology overhaul and expansion, but I could be wrong. It seems certain that a positive industry response to whatever Webb and his team roll out will matter greatly to all concerned. Sabre and Amadeus sucked up 5 percent of the market share on Travelport some time back, and future investors are going to want to see this recaptured.
Travelport competitors include Amadeus IT Group, Sabre Corporation, INFINI Travel Information, Sirena-Travel CJSC, and TravelSky Technology Limited. Webb told PhocusWrite he sees his company as competing with anybody in the “multi-source content aggregation space.” Webb has made some perfect moves and speaks the right speak, like somebody who has and can once again transform a company. The question is, “Has he managed to build or acquire the holistic and singular back-end tech to resurrect Travelport’s former greatness?
For my part, I agree with Webb when he says Travelport is an aggregator at the core. Now all he has to do is roll out the new engine. Let’s see if it happens.
To be continued….