Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Wotif to lead that right?

Canberra Times is more renowned for breaking news about which restaurant is lunch spot of the moment for politicians or which minor party nobody was found drunk at the Ranch in Manuka but it seems they are also getting into ecommerce and online travel reporting with a brief but interesting interview with Wotif's Graeme Wood. Not surprisingly Graeme confirms that he has no plans to expand beyond hotels. They have been consistent with this line for as long as they have been in business. What was interesting and surprising is this comment "Wotif will use funds generated by its floatation to swallow up other companies". Have not heard before any rumour or commentary that Wotif might go on the acquisition trail. Had expected them to focus their new found float wealth on marketing and product expansion. There are plenty of cheap interesting targets for them in the local market (travelmate/needitnow combo) but more likely this is the way they plan to crack the Asian market. The pickings in Asia for acqusition are pretty slim. Cendant/Travelport (with help from me) already picked up the best in Asia-hotels and Flairview (HotelClub/RatesToGo). Rakuten already bought mytrip. Leaves some smaller players like in Singapore and HotelThailand and Asiarooms in Thailand - but there are serious issues with each of these. I am looking forward to watching this unfold. Strange that I have to now add the Canberra Times to my watch list.


Anonymous said...

"but there are serious issues with each of these."

Wondering what serious issues? Some of them seem to be as successful as the other acquired sites; though may be for niche countries.

Tim Hughes said...

Your right to ask as my comment was cryptic. This was because it is hard for me to go into too much detail as I spent time with these companies under confidential circumstances. It is not to do with limited country focus. Plenty (Wotif, Venerre, HRS etc) have proven that limited country focus or dominance can prove successful. Let me put it this way - I am always more bullish on companies that own their own supply (ie direct relationships with hotels, air etc) than I am on those that act merely as intermediaries, especially those intermediaries that use traditional offline wholesalers (and rates) as their source of inventory for sale online.

Oh - congrats on being the first to comment on my blog.