Traditionally, the first part of January is a time for
predictions, so let me dust off my wonderful little crystal ball
and tell you what I see:
The airlines continue to use the Web to promote even lower fares
so they lose money on every ticket sold, but make it up in volume.
Certain cruise lines and tour operators, for some unknown
reason, like the way the airlines market on the Internet and try to
generate more direct bookings themselves.
ARC decides daily reporting works so well that they go to hourly
reporting, thinking it will be even better.
Amtrak turns a profit; airlines try to figure out how.
Cruise lines develop new home ports in Chicago and Detroit as
they run out of home ports in the Gulf Coast, East and West
Saddam decides he likes living, so he moves to Mongolia. No war
means that travel agencies hit record sales and profits in 2003.
Airlines, however, manage another record year of losses so a local
agency doing just $1 million in sales is more profitable than the
top 5 airlines combined.
All four of the major CRS companies decide to become online
travel agencies and get out of the travel agency business. Travel
agents at first are shocked, but decide they can manage just
Airlines decide to pay agents 10 percent commission if they will
book in the CRS, take responsibility for debit memos and
chargebacks and report all sales through ARC.
Agents tell airlines where to stick their 10 percent commission
proposal. Happy days again.
Oh, and at least one more airline will file Chapter 11.