This morning, Travelocity announced the purchase of Indian portal Travelguru. Interestingly, the press release calls Travelguru "India's leading hotel distribution network" which it may very well be. Adding 4000 hotels, most of which are independent, non chain affiliated properties is a major coup for Travelocity and for Sabre, particularly if they are able to expose this new inventory in the Sabre GDS. Adding hotel inventory in India is, in a word, hard. The extremely limited presence of the large chain hotels makes adding inventory a slow, manual process that requires lots of feet on the street. It appears Travelguru has solved this issue.
But Travelguru is more than just hotels. Interestingly, it is also an air meta search player and a pretty good one at that. A far cry from the traditional OTA model (and much less the GDS model) Travelguru actually send consumers to other sites to book low margin air tickets. A pretty interesting strategy for dealing with a low profit item. Travelguru's meta search is provided by IXIGo, a separate entity.
Is this a precursor to a larger shift by the Gnome away from the GDS powered, air-centric OTA model here in the US? Time will tell.
Oh, and we wonder how long Expedia's white label product, WWTE will power hotel searches outside of India! It is kind of a throw-back to the days when Hotels.com powered Travelocity's hotel product! Do these icon etc look familiar?