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Posts tagged ‘phocuswright’

Some Thoughts from PCW12 Conference – PART 2

November 20, 2012


Several thoughts came to me as I wandered around the Westin Kierland in Scottsdale.

The usual buzz was there but also a sense that this was the last version of the event that Philip (Wolf) created. Next year’s event in Florida will be a different affair as the lock down on the team will be up. I suspect many of the PCW staffers will be off seeking pastures new.  I am sure that Philip will be back to run his monologue and stoke the audience. He certainly does it well.

As for this year’s presentation – there was a lot of worship at the alter of Hafner. Congrats to the team that sold the deal and the team that bought it. I have a sense that the price was a bit too rich for my thinking. It could be justified but its a bit of a stretch. I don’t doubt that the sellers were very happy. (Despite the usual lawsuit to muddy the waters). Hafner’s irreverence after what was probably a tough night before, allowed him to openly dish some of his competitors. He was not charming about Hipmunk.

The Google team – now unencumbered by conflicting agendas – were out in force trying to make sure that the Travel Industry thinks of them as warm nice and cuddly. Google makes Microsoft look like a 90 pound weakling in the bigger is better stakes. Jeremy Wertheimer mentioned GFS – Google Flight Search almost en passant. His baby got one mention during the entire presentation. On the other hand Google Now got a centre stage billing but the one that probably should strike fear in every person trying to crack Social Travel is or What Do You Love? If that doesn’t scare you nothing will!

The GDSs put on a brave face as usual struggling to remain relevant seems to be part of the challenge they face. Perhaps the biggest threat doesn’t come from the usual places. But there on stage in the Innovation Summit – Concur’s Open Booking should send chills down the spines of folks in Madrid, Langley and Southlake. The first time that someone is aiming an arrow right at the heart of the GDS – the TMC players. Belt tightening next year in corporate travel will have an impact with more and more people demanding to take control of their budget and making their Travel dollars go further.

Very few seem to have paid much attention to something that will have a major impact on Travel in the years ahead. IE IATA’s NDC – New Distribution Capability. Arguably with the potential to be a true gamechanger for the whole Travel market. Perhaps most people are dismissing IATA’s efforts as slow and ineffective as previous outings of distribution change. I am keeping a close eye on it because this is a game changing moment IF the powers that be don’t mess up.

The investment community was definitely abuzz with where the next Kayak or great idea would come from. The $250K award to Tourwrist in the form of a note from General Catalyst was interesting. In the traditional world there is now clear water between the top two OTA players – Expedia and Priceline and the second players – Travelocity and Orbitz. In the smokey back rooms suites and hallways, general concern about the diminished supply of air doesn’t seem to have concerned too many people. However the hotel market is just starting to wake up and wonder where those AirBnB et al room nights are coming from. Yup they are coming from somewhere.

Perhaps one of the most telling statistics I heard was that corporate policy compliance was continuing to decline. The cost of the heavy overhead from TMCs, GDSs and the GBTA is starting to weigh on real Travel budgets. The new generation of corporate travelers are not standing for the obstacles put in their way. At next year’s TIS – I predict that there will be some true innovation occuring in Corporate Travel. And about time too.

So till next year chaps. Enjoy the discussion and the intrigue, the fun and games. I almost got the impression that the Travel Industry has matured and is ripe for a big change.








“The Buzz Is Palpable” but perhaps not for much longer Part 1 Innovation Summit.

November 19, 2012


The annual shindig that is the PhocusWright conference produced a bumper crop of new innovators vying for a spot in the sun. Interestingly the number of successful players who have graduated from TIS – Travel Innovation Summit – may not be that great. It is about par for the course of startups who succeed (not great either). However the categories are important to understand the likely success or failure. To say that Amadeus is a success is like saying Hostess is a failure. But they won in several categories over the past few years.

So what of the innovators? Go to and then you can see these. But registration is required. I hope you signed up for the streams before hand. I have eliminated from review people who have been here before (e.g. Ostrovok).

So who do I think were winners?

Here are my picks and the likely exit.

I liked WeHostels (with apologies to VP for whom I initially said I didn’t like the idea). I am warming to it but not fully there yet. Exit is likely to be Priceline.

Triometric – REALLY great – a true data geek business that probably wont need to see the light of day again in public and will probably get acquired by IBM.

Tagman – I think its overrated. Organizing Tags is good but there are no standards and as long as Google keeps moving the goalposts then it will be hard. However this is a reasonable chance for success with exit being sold to Microsoft who desperately need a foot in this door.

TourWrist. I cant think why – but well Joel Cutler is investing so follow the smart money I suppose. Exist? Probably Google.

Deal Angel an OTA masquerading as a Deal site. The stuff under the covers is worth more than the site itself. Should be acquired for its technology not the consumer business. Thanks Groupon for messing up this market.

Rome2Rio – as I put in my prior post – I love maps. So where will this end up? I will go out on a limb and say that Amazon could really use this as a way to power many businesses. Alternatively if a GDS was really smart they would use this as a springboard. Nah… never happen.

And that is it. None of the others were complete enough. Some fundamental issues with each of them. Honorable mention may go to Maptia – love the idea (Maps again) but the execution as incomplete and needs a lot more work/effort. Amadeus and Concur get excluded for being too big. OpenBooking is nice but the model is based on screwing someone else’s model. Always find that hard to accept.

Anyway – enjoy it. Let me know what you think