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
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
email@example.com and we’ll print your responses in a future issue
of TravelAge West.