Market Share has a new definition

Today’s blog is a discussion about the term “market share” when used in the travel distribution ecosystem context.

Let me start by saying that prior to the advent of the Internet in the mid-90s, third party travel distribution was dominated by the Global Distribution Companies (GDS) and booking share was most easily estimated by the use of MIDT (marketing information data tapes).

MIDT consolidates airline ticketing data from all the various GDS sources and is the only truly reliable source to estimate GDS booking share, amongst the group as a whole, but not within the ecosystem.
I must still stress “estimate” in that last statement, as MIDT often excludes regional players such as Travelsky, Infini, Topas, Axess, Sirena etc. and each MIDT provider has subtle differences in how they count segments and when they reflect cancellations.

MIDT is marketed by both Sabre and by Travelport (through their Data Intelligence group, formerly known as Shepherd Systems), among others, including Amadeus and DOB Systems.  Mere mortals like myself cannot afford this product, which is subscription based.  Last that I checked, it was in the range of $20-30k per month for a subscription.

Today, the GDS are now more of a channel for suppliers for distribution of their products – but one of many.

The new post-Internet marketplace is more fragmented and includes sites, online travel agencies (OTAs), search and metasearch players, corporate self-booking systems and of late, others like Farelogix who facilitate supplier direct distribution, including to many of these other channels. 

And surprise, surprise.  There is no single source of aggregating booking data across channels.  And since the US GDS companies are now private, booking share information is elusive at best.

As an aside, my apologies to Sabre for a statement in my blog last week entitled “Who Has the Power about Travelport being the number one GDS in the US.  Mea culpa Sabre.  I’ve modified the original blog and now armed with clarification from both Sabre and Travelport, as well as stats from Amadeus’ recent IPO, my next blog will focus on which GDS is the biggest.  

Stay tuned.

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