Thursday, March 27, 2008

Media companies as operators? The impact could be big

Our latest column in Travel Weekly:

Last week’s news regarding Teletext Holidays and its fundamental repositioning was inevitably overshadowed by the latest twist in the Corfu/Thomas Cook saga.

However, in any other week, Teletext’s decision to become a tour operator through its ThisIsTravel brand would probably be the biggest story of the week. The reason this development is so significant can be seen in two parts.

Firstly, this is a major travel company from the old school, which has seen too much of the perennial writing on the wall and decided to act.

Becoming the travel provider – the boundaries between operator and agent are increasingly blurred – means Teletext can attempt to offer consumers a more inclusive service.

Consumers will either be on a ThisIsTravel holiday, or have used the service to build their own trip. This is nothing new, of course. Indeed, Teletext is hardly a pioneer in this area, it is just reacting to change perhaps quicker than others.

The second reason for its significance concerns its ownership. Teletext is a division of the Daily Mail and General Trust, one of the biggest media groups in the UK and publisher of the newspaper of the same name.

We have been predicting this for a while. There is nothing to stop a media company moving into travel, and DMGT has just proved it. The media giants in the UK are in a reasonably strong position.

They have the eyeballs of consumers and strong brands, often excellent travel-related content, and the web allows them to create trips easily – but they need new revenue streams to shore up their falling print circulations.

This isn’t to say that the Guardian, the Telegraph et al will suddenly be running holidays around the world. But as media and travel converge further, it is something to consider.

Kevin May, editor, Travolution


Alex Bainbridge said...

How concerned are media companies about travel companies moving the other way?

What about travel or travel technology companies becoming media companies!?


Travolution Blogger said...

Alex: no concern at present. but not to say media companies won't have worries in the future.