Tuesday, September 05, 2006

AA/Sabre Deal, A big sigh of relief?

The last minute agreement reached between AA and Sabre has many in the corporate travel world breathing a sigh of relief. I fear that TMCs and corporate customers will quickly return to a state of complacency regarding the radical underlying changes happening in travel distribution. Yes this agreement avoids the additional imposed fees, but by its nature the new agreement also reduces the amount of "financial assistance" available to TMCs and corporations (provided there was a pass through). Anyone who believes that this announcement means the end of the content issue between suppliers, distributors and customers, is being blind to the fact that a major restructuring is underway in travel distribution. As I have stated in previous blog entries, the issue is one of control over distribution. The desire of airlines to dynamically price their inventory in different channels still exists. The work of companies such as ITA Software and Datalex to change the underlying systems used by airlines is providing a new opportunity for channel management. I encourage all parties in the corporate (and leisure) value chain to be wary of any message like "mission accomplished". The story is not over yet.

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