Questioning the travel industry status quo, one blog post at a time

Posts Tagged ‘Ask the Question’


“The Offer” is now the airline’s biggest asset.

Sound silly? Hard to believe? I mean come on… airline’s biggest asset…it must be the people, right? Or the fleet of new airplanes? Or maybe those fancy remodeled lounges…. Oh wait, no, the biggest asset must be that new seating configuration or the stand-up bar in the back of the plane. Right? Wrong. All of those things are important…but they are not the airline’s biggest asset when it comes to competitive advantage and earning More Revenue and Happy Customers.

No, the airline’s biggest asset is, without a doubt, the offer it makes to potential customers literally millions of times per day through its various sales channels. Because at the end of the day, if potential customers don’t turn into real live customers, all those other “hard” assets mentioned above become extremely burdensome for any airline. The airline’s ability to monetize those assets essentially comes down to the offer it makes to its potential customers via its web site, call center, mobile app, corporate booking tool, or travel agency, including OTAs and meta search.

Yet, most airlines today put the creation of their offer – and control of their biggest asset – in the hands of strangers! Bizarre, isn’t it? OK, maybe 3rd parties like the PSS and GDS are not strangers, but it’s safe to say the offer is not their biggest asset…and that those companies cannot possibly understand what is the best offer creation methodology for you, the airline. Worse yet, some of these 3rd parties may not even have your best interests at heart when it comes to what drives their business model.

So, what to do if you are an airline seeking to take greater care of, and invest in, your biggest asset? First off, Ask the Question. Then take action! By action, I mean grab back control of your ability to Create, Control, and Deliver your offer to your sales channels – using technology that is fully scalable and under YOUR control. In other words, become the “Single Source of Truth” and don’t look back!

 More on how to do that coming up.

© HaywireMedia -

© HaywireMedia –

I started reading Sabre’s comment to the DOT regarding IATA’s Resolution 787 (NDC) on the airplane the other day.  It only took a few paragraphs for me to realize that their comment was not really about NDC, but rather a defensive commentary insisting they can—or will at some point in the future be able to—do everything when it comes to providing airlines with the distribution technology airlines and travel agencies desire.  OK, but “the lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

So Sabre, in its comment to DOT, rather than commenting on the merits or shortcomings of Resolution 787 like everyone else did, submitted a voluminous 77-page document outlining how they can—whoops, I mean, will at some point in the future be able to—do everything the airlines, travel agencies, corporations, and consumers want. It makes me think of petulant 5-year-olds arguing on the playground. “Can not!” “Can too!”

Much of their comment includes screenshots. Hey, I like pictures as much as the next guy, and we even submitted some pictures in our DOT comment, but in the end it is not about pictures or even demos.  It’s about real product capabilities and value creation. In their comment, Sabre referenced a demo they gave at the DOT’s Advisory Committee for Aviation Consumer Protection as proof that they already have all these great distribution capabilities. I was at that particular meeting at the DOT and witnessed the Sabre demo.  Now, I know Sabre likes to call Farelogix products that have been in production for years mock-ups, so I won’t use that term, but words like prototype, untested, and unproven did come to mind as I was viewing that Sabre demo in DC.  So, Sabre, I will take your assertions with a grain of salt—a big, giant saltlick-sized grain of salt. Read the rest of this entry »

Bobblehead took the Thanksgiving holiday to study up on his poetry—Eliot, Emerson, Dickinson, you name it. In fact, he was so inspired, he wrote his own poem. Check it out:

Visit the YouTube link here.

Bobblehead travels a lot. And sometimes with a lot of stuff. So he uses to find out his checked baggages and fees before he gets to the airport.

Take a look…

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that the Direct Connect debate continues to heat up. Bobblehead hasn’t been living under a rock, he’s just been… out of the country. But with all the hoopla surrounding Direct Connect, and some of the questions GDSs are telling their agencies to ask the airlines, I figured it’d be a good time to recall our bobbly buddy to lay some Direct Connect answers on you.


Ask the Question 12

Close your eyes for a minute and imagine you are the new brand manager for Tide laundry detergent. First, congrats on the promotion. Second, laundry detergent is generally considered a commodity, but Tide and other detergent manufacturers have spent millions of dollars creating brand image and developing brand loyalty… just like the airlines have done. These laundry detergent manufacturers spend a lot of money for one main purpose: to secure repeat purchase behavior… just like the airlines do.

Back to Tide and your first day on the job. You’re running ten minutes late and you’ve spilled coffee on your shirt. You have a meeting with your main distribution provider, Big T’s Trucking Company. Well thank goodness you work at Tide now because I’m sure they have one of those Tide Sticks laying around somewhere. Anyway, you’ve been told that Tide uses 3 primary trucking companies that manage over 60% of your distribution, but Big T is the largest. Read the rest of this entry »

CC Attribution 2.0 / Roland

By now we’ve heard ad nauseam the drumbeat of those in the travel industry who, incorrectly, associate new technology (such as direct connections) with matters of airline fee transparency. As I and several others have repeatedly explained, these two things have nothing to do with one another – outside of the irony that direct connect technology actually makes it easier for airlines to communicate ancillary fee information to shoppers.

But rehashing the benefits of direct connect is not my focus here. Instead let’s talk about the entire notion of fee transparency itself that, I would argue, is an entirely false issue promoted by those who simply want airlines to revert to the days of commoditized, apples-to-apples shopping. Read the rest of this entry »

This morning, fortunately after my coffee, I stumbled across a piece written by David Jonas of The Beat. David felt compelled to comment on an article in Travel Weekly written by a “Washington-based lawyer specializing in travel law,” titled AA’s Misguided Approach Will Doom Rollout of Direct Connect.I must give David credit for calling out the very obvious inaccuracies in the article. And, frankly, I believe this needs to happen more, and I am not excluding my articles from this needed scrutiny. I am not going to rebut the inaccurate elements in the article, as David did an excellent job of shining a light on them. You can be the judge as I have, with permission, published David’s blog below.

Copyright Jenny Downing

Read the rest of this entry »

GDSs and their coalitions worked so hard building the story to tell the world how airlines are deceiving consumers with hidden fees, and that airline direct connect will create a huge lack of transparency. Well, turns out the ones really biasing information and avoiding transparency may be, according to the DOT, the GDSs and some OTAs themselves. Ask the Question!

The only true deception going on is that being fostered by the GDS and their sponsored coalitions and lobbyists as they attempt to protect their anti-competitive, high-cost GDS business model. Rather than being transparent about this self-serving objective, there is a massive PR campaign designed to deceive the public into believing that direct connects will hurt the consumer and the travel agency. Come on — are you kidding me? Ask the Question!