What makes this deal interesting is that it is not a sell-off of the US and Canada Travelocity assets.
That says that there’s a belief that perhaps Travelocity’s brand equity is undervalued by the market and/or consumers and that’s something that Sabre thinks can be addressed relatively quickly.
The key is understanding how desktop and mobile are used as complements versus as stand-alone.
EFT: Considering the significance of brands in the e-commerce category, how do you think this move is going to result in new benefits for Travelocity? LM: The best thing it can do for Travelocity is narrow its focus, in this case on branding, marketing, and conquesting (placing ads right next to content about your competitors).
LM: With the travel economy recovering, we’re seeing the industry increasingly consider mergers for forward strategic reasons (as opposed to, say, smaller or mid-sized companies combining or aligning just to stay afloat as in a recession).
I think an emerging smaller opportunity will be better integration of supplier loyalty programmes into OTAs, and broader is fewer different technologies or more commoditisation. But my sense is that there are still are a few more big deals still to come, and I think some of those will be surprises as online entities think more out of the box about new revenue streams.
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After a spate of strategic alliances in the online travel sector, the recent strategic marketing agreement featuring Expedia Inc.
For instance, will Expedia at some point acquire Travelocity?
Can any other firm now acquire a stake in Travelocity? Eyefor Travel’s Ritesh Gupta explores this agreement with Lincoln Merrihew, VP, Transportation at the research firm Millward Brown Digital.