|Why this time of the year is like prepping for an F1 race.|
Friday, 28th December 2012
Source : Yeoh Siew Hoon
You can tell it’s the merry time of the year because there’s a lot of buying going on – Priceline buys Kayak; MakeMyTrip buys Hoteltravel; ZUJI’s suitor turned out to be Webjet and not Wotif as the rumour mill had been suggesting; Etihad saves Kingfisher; and SIA sells its stake in Virgin Atlantic to Delta Airlines.
And you bet there’ll be lots more to come as travel players take positions to either consolidate their lead or expand their reach and scale to ensure they come up on top in a new year that will be bound to be full of as many surprises as this year was.
Priceline buying Kayak, described as “unexpected but undeniably brilliant by PhoCusWright in this article, is being watched with great interest in APAC, not least by the travel meta-search players all striving to scale and/or remain relevant in a space where Google is rearing its mighty head.
Could this move be the harbinger of more acquisitions by Priceline in the search space in APAC? If so, you can bet there’ll be lots of interested parties ready to talk with Glenn Fogel, head of worldwide strategy and planning for The Priceline Group (left).
It’s no secret that the group has an investment fund ready to strike in a region where its business is booming and has great upside for growth. With competition intensifying and the markets shifting – MakeMyTrip was the first OTA to strike out into search with the acquisition of ixigo – Priceline knows it needs to make a bold move in APAC to solidify its lead.
But the meta-search space is a tough nut to crack – Wego, the Singapore-based enterprise, has been going at it for more than seven years and it’s hard, just like with the OTA business, to build a true regional brand that is equally strong across all markets in Asia. So it’s had to dig into local as well with several sites now launched in-markets such as Indonesia and Middle East.