Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Who serves who?

First we had airline owned travel agencies...then the CRS was invented. The CRSs were eventually divested by airlines....then along came the Internet. At first airlines wanted to use the Internet to regain control of their distribution, however they realized that third-parties were too valuable and had to find a compromise. Now it appears as if the status quo is over.

The third-party,, has removed American Airlines from their inventory as a result of a dispute where Kayak was sending AA customers to purchase their tickets. This makes one wonder: who serves who? Is Kayak dependent upon AA, or is it the othe way around? If this behavior continues it only solidifies the notion that the industry is a commodity. If passengers continue to patron Kayak for their low fares and loose AA as an option, it only proves that airlines have a real battle to boost their brand. Although many can name the largest and most successful airlines, we know that price is nearly always the determing factor when choosing a carrier. If strengthening a brand is so vital then distribution is one of the key elements, since it is the link to the end consumer.

Now the next element that needs to be strengthened is the service once the customer has purchased a ticket.

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