DON’T expect meaningful online investment from retail travel giant Stella Travel Services with CEO Peter Lacaze dismissive of travel e-commerce. Lacaze told Travel Today: "I probably should be more enthusiastic but I follow the numbers, not the stories. I have not seen any evidence that it works. No evidence at all. Transactions through Harvey World Travel are pitiful.
“Everyone jumps to say you must have an online booking engine but it’s not the only way of being web enabled. Of the $8 or $9b outbound flight market, you’d be lucky to get $300m to $500m online. It’s nothing. Will the Internet grow to take half the market? Not in my lifetime.”
The internet doesn’t much like Lacaze either. Not a single photo of the man was revealed in a Google image search. Stella Travel Services owns 12 retail brands, including Harvey World Travel and Travelscene American Express, which between them have 1100 shops.
Travel Trends: December 18, 2009