Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Trouble in the air

It appears the tour operators are fighting back, with Thomson joining the likes of Thomas Cook in a concerted effort to put the online travel agents in their place.

[Read our story here]

It must be rather satisfying for the likes of Thomson to be able to gloat to a room full of travel journos in London that it and other tour operators are seeing continued growth online, while the “traditional” online travel agents are losing their way a little.

Sales and marketing boss Miles Morgan admitted that in the past the “competitive advantage” rested with the OTAs because of their technological prowess.

However the times they are a-changing, apparently. Not only are the big players – including the airlines – creating sophisticated and functional websites, but they have the “exclusive and range of content” to market direct to the consumer.

“We own the beachfront!” Morgan said.

So despite being fierce competitors, Thomson has now joined Thomas Cook in recent weeks in sticking the knife into the likes of Expedia et al.

[Read our Thomas Cook story here]

A united front to battle against those “Dotcom darlings”, as Morgan calls them?

There is a growing feeling that the various camps are digging their heels in/battening down the hatches (delete as appropriate) for a good old fashioned scrap for consumers again as the Internet reaches a new level.

Seconds away...Round 2(.0!!).

Kevin May, editor, Travolution

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