Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Christmas Tale of Travel Distribution – 2

Cast of Characters:

Air Schizophrenia Services (ASS Air) – A major airline from Never Never Land.
Pass it on Travel (Past Travel) - A neurotic TMC who misses the old days
Scrooge Global Inc (Scroogey Inc) - A global corporation that hates travel budgets
Vera Merchant Fee ( VeraCard) - A credit/charge card that does not add up
Online Travel Agency (Ollie OTA) – Illegitimate love child of Air Schizophrenia.
IATAmania (Colin Cartel) - An airline association that interprets
the rules as they go along.

Globally Dysfunctional (Gordon GDS) – A misunderstood much maligned cog in
the Distribution wheel who nobody wants to pay

(Again, a work of absolute fiction and all the characters are simply a result of my overactive imagination)

It was a quiet peaceful Christmas Eve. It was mainly quiet because half a teaspoonful of snow had landed on the tarmac at London Heathrow causing the entire airport and access road infrastructure to go into meltdown and stop completely.

ASS Air barricaded himself in his office, switched off the passenger information announcements and tried to turn his mind away from the groaning, lamentation and anger coming from those selfish passengers in the departure hall. After all he had given them foil blankets so what were they moaning about?

Finally he decided to think back over the last year and consider what he might do in 2011. He tried to focus on all the fun things and the new friends he had made which lasted about 20 seconds so he then moved onto the progress he was beginning to make on distribution matters. He had quite a busy year in this area but he considered it mere positioning for what was planned for the coming year. He would show those vultures (I mean ‘partners’) a thing or two.

He started ticking off the successes and failures of the past. He congratulated himself for his success in transferring a major chunk of his own selling costs down the line. Who would have thought it could be so easy! Just put the squeeze and expense onto Past Travel and watch them ricochet onwards to Scrooge Inc. Job done! Except Scrooge being a savvy customer had let it happen in order to commoditise and claw back.

He was however beginning to understand Scrooge a lot better. It was difficult to start with but when he realised that old Scroogy played by different rules and was not impressed by his arrogance he found more subtle ways to play him at his own game. He discovered that as long as the up front price made Scrooge look good he could tinker away with the ancillaries rather like those ‘ghastly and common’ No Frills guys do.

It had been a shame about the black sheep of his family. After the wild euphoria of creating his very own online travel agency Ollie OTA had ultimately disappointed him. Now he had to try and undo the damage by putting him down in as humane way as possible. So off he had gone with his ‘content club’ and bludgeoned poor old Ollie as if he was a seal pup. Trouble was Ollie had a tougher infrastructure than he realised. ‘Memo to me’, he thought. Get in touch with Colin Cartel in IATA land and get him to come up with some kind of ‘creative’ rule interpretation to help me. After all good old Colin will do exactly what I say if he knows what is good for him. I am after all his boss.

That left just VeraCard and Gordon GDS to sort out. Both were thorns in his distribution sides but he was beginning to make serious progress. All he had to do was close his eyes to what travellers want and appeal to Scrooges desire for cheap nets and he would be nearly there. Vera would be much easier than Gordon. All he had to do was introduce a premium for using Vera (preferably higher than she cost) and watch old Past Travel do the rest. Scrooge would have to accept, especially if his competitor chums followed suit and they sure would like they always do.

Gordon GDS is another prospect entirely. Yes, Gordon is as anti change as he is and yes, he wants it all his way and yes, Gordon wants to increase his wealth not to diminish it. But like AssAir, Gordon does not appear to be able to come up with any more positive solution than more deep-seated intransigence. “Everything must change”, they cry, but not me! So Gordon hides behind the walls of Fortress Full Content while poor old AssAir tries to bash it down access brick by access brick. Meanwhile Scrooge and Pass It On shout for him to stop before they get hurt by the aftermath..

What a lovely time of the year Ass Air mused as he snuggled deeper into the ego massage machine chair that had been installed behind the double-locked steel door of his airport office. Have those damn passengers stopped snivelling he thought as he eyed the lovely looking ‘humble pie’ his cabin crew had cooked for him. No, he thought, I can always eat that when I absolutely have to and it will be Spring by then.

He reclined his lounger into bed mode and drifted into a blameless sleep.’ Oh what fun I will have next year’ he thought in his last moment of consciousness. But then he had a terrible dream. It involved all his antagonists sitting with him in a room sponsored by corporate travel trade associations and he was being made to cut a deal that would be fair for all and serving to the travel community.

But that really would be a fairy story

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