Not so long ago, Expedia and Travelocity were mortal commercial enemies. Now they are partners. The companies have just announced an “exclusive, long-term strategic marketing agreement, whereby Expedia will power the technology platforms for Travelocity’s existing websites in the US and Canada, while providing Travelocity access to Expedia, Inc.’s supply and customer services.”
Upon implementation, expected in 2014, Travelocity will simply focus on promoting its brand and selling travel online. It will be an online shopfront for travel with the back-end run by a competitor OTA.
Carl Sparks, President and CEO, Travelocity Global, commented: “Since launching in 1996, Travelocity has grown from a pioneering Internet start-up to one of the leading brands in travel.
“We have elected to evolve and strengthen our business model in the US and Canada by working with Expedia, Inc. to offer a top-notch booking platform and a more robust supply of travel options, allowing us to focus increased resources on building our competitive strengths in marketing and retailing.”
It’s an amazing statement that essentially acknowledges that Travelocity can no longer stand alone and effectively compete in the hostile North American travel market. It was a brief announcement and so many things were left unsaid, especially on the supply side.
Technology we get, Expedia does that, but what about Travelocity’s numerous supplier relationships – especially with hotels – will they all be the responsibility of Expedia from here on in?
No idea but this is a huge announcement that acknowledges how dramatically the online travel game has changed.