Outside view on American Airlines-GDS war: Brand loyalty and differentiation
02/04/2011|9:50:57 PM|Tnooz

I’ve been involved in the travel industry for about a year, so don’t have the evolution of airlines, GDSs and travel intermediaries that others have running through their veins.

But I do have 20 years of business and marketing acumen working in other segments of technology and, as a result, have noticed a few elements of the AA-GDS battle that seem peculiar.

It’s about differentiation

One of the main arguments I hear about why American wants to pursue direct-connect is that its want to compete less on price and use the different fare bundles and ancillary fees as a point of differentiation.

I completely agree that brands ought to try to differentiate their offerings. Differentiation drives preference.  Differentiation can lead to brand loyalty. Brand loyalty can lead to outsized margins and reduce real competition.

Unfortunately, what American seems to be pursuing is obfuscation, not differentiation.

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