Merger Mania Good for Business?

Let us know what you think about consolidation

It seems like travel suppliers believe bigger is better. Over the past several years, we’ve seen many companies merge or gobble each other up. Sometimes, it results in a huge corporation that is difficult to navigate or succeeds only in blurring successful brands. Yet we’ve seen some of these high-profile acquisitions make strong brands even better.

In this issue’s cover story (page 10), we look at the recent wave of consolidation plans by the big companies running casinos and hotels in Las Vegas and the rest of the country. MGM-Mirage wants to join up with Mandalay Bay Resorts while Harrah’s Entertainment is proposing to buy up Caesars Entertainment.

Yet, when we asked two travel agents for their thoughts about the mergers, they weren’t particularly worried. In fact, they both cited the consolidation taking place in the cruise industry as positive.

Let’s look at Carnival Corp.’s more recent acquisitions. Costa Cruises, the Italian line, is adding flashy new ships. Cunard Line built the world’s largest ocean liner, the Queen Mary 2, receiving unparalleled publicity. And Princess Cruises is expanding at a brisk pace under its new cash-rich parent company.

The key seems to be keeping brands independent and even allowing sister companies to compete against each other.

But what do you think? Do you think the wave of acquisitions and mergers has been a positive development in the travel industry? Has it minimized or created problems? Let me know in an e-mail to and we’ll print your responses in a future issue of TravelAge West.