Friday, November 23, 2007

YTB a Game Changer

Happy Thanksgiving

If you eliminate the MLM part, which I abhor , the concept of eliminating the middleman by becoming the middleman is quite inventive and must by definition bring down the cost of travel for those that dicide to buy the travel from themselves instead of that middleman.

If cleverly, and by that I do not mean sly or dishonest, executed and focused on the customer, I believe this is a wonderful opportunity to have fun and make some money at the same time.

I believe this model is a game-changer in the long run, just like the original Travelocities of this world. And will bring prices down if only initially by getting cash back. It does run the risk that everyone reduces prices and then the game is up and then the only differentiator that remains will be personal superior customer service.

What the internet has typically done in most instances has been to eliminate middlemen who did not bring any value to the value chain of a product and consequently did not deserve to be paid anything.Travelocity, Expadia and all these search engines have an advantage (value added) over the carriers and hotels in that they scour a huge database of hundreds of airlines and thousands of hotels over a particular route/destination and create the impression that the customer was offered best deal to be found.In reality the Airlines' and Hotels' own portals often offer cheaper fares and rates than the search engines. But using the General Travel Portals saves the traveler the time it would have taken him/her to go from Carrier to Carier and Hotel to Hotel and thus add value.

I know Travelocity and et al now also offer excellent 800 service to their VIP customers and thus add value there, but then so does everyone else nowadays even FRED!

So THE benefit YTB offers over the competition is the OWNERSHIP of the travel portal for an Individual, Small Corporation, Sole Proprietor, Organization, Church, Wanna Be Travel agent, Like myself.Provided they do the math and reach a break-even point of over $6K in travel spend and it is a healthy blend of travel (not just airline tickets), the value proposition makes economic sense and is a good one that is offered by no one else.

Above is a link that I am sure you are already aware of that shows that the trend to online booking is unstoppable.

YTB if operated responsibly would add another twist to this online trend.It is a little like Netflix versus Blockbuster. Blockbuster never really recovered..

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