The purpose of this paper was to explore the ways travel intermediaries (online travel agencies (OTAs) and travel meta sites) used throughout the distribution value chain engaged in relationships with travel suppliers.
The multiple‐case study approach is suitable in examining contemporary events in their natural context. A commonly reported strength of the case study approach in that a variety of evidence can be used to investigate the subject matter. The data evidence gathered for this paper came from field study interviews and document analysis.
The results show that the relationship structure has an impact on the type of contractual agreement OTAs and meta sites have with travel suppliers and with each other.
These results can be used by top‐level executives involved in online travel as they research and test how to best craft their relationship and formal or informal agreements with their suppliers, affiliates, and other entities with which they choose to work.
Partnerships between travel suppliers and meta search engines could threaten travel agencies and allow travel suppliers a viable means to bypass agencies all together and maintain more control in both the transaction, the relationship building process with customers, and, ultimately, ownership of customers.
Based upon the current state, it is clear that the distribution landscape is in state of flux. Travel meta search engines are gaining traction, both in terms of market share and financial backing. Kayak's recent acquisition of SideStep helps to provide strength to Kayak and will likely be the catalyst for other mergers in due time. All of the major players are jockeying for position. There will likely be consolidation and more new entrants. To remain relevant, one must actively monitor this space, continue to keep abreast of developments as they unfold, and innovate. Most importantly, one must provide unmatched value to win customer loyalty and gain market share.
Christodoulidou, N., Connolly, D. and Brewer, P. (2010), "An examination of the transactional relationship between online travel agencies, travel meta sites, and suppliers", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 22 No. 7, pp. 1048-1062. https://doi.org/10.1108/09596111011066671Download as .RIS
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