Title

The Emerging Role of Vertical Search Engines in Travel Distribution: A Newly Vulnerable Electronic Markets Perspective

Publication Type

Conference Proceeding Article

Publication Date

1-2008

Abstract

Information technology (IT) advances often create turmoil and disturb existing industry structures. We analyze the impact of the Internet and e-commerce technologies on digital intermediaries in the travel distribution sector. We suggest that the emerging role of meta-search agents, which act as shopbots for online travel, lead to the increasing vulnerability of existing intermediaries in the industry, especially the information infrastructure-providing global distribution systems (GDSs) and the distribution-based online travel agencies (OTAs). We base our analysis on the theories of newly-vulnerable markets and intermediation. This supports our examination of the characteristics of existing electronic distribution players in the industry that make them vulnerable to new search engine technologies. The main findings that we report are: (1) technological advances change the defensibility of e-market intermediaries to new value-adding secondary intermediaries, and (2) the value- added opportunities come from providing consumers with enhanced transparency-based price and feature search, as well as comparison capabilities. Our analysis allows us to make bold predictions about the future of the industry, and to apply our findings to other industry contexts.

Keywords

Internet, Distribution strategy, Electronic commerce, Search engines, Travel industry

Discipline

Computer Sciences | E-Commerce

Research Areas

Information Systems and Management

Publication

Proceedings of the 41st Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences : 7 - 10 Jan. 2008, Waikoloa, Big Island, Hawaii

First Page

389

ISBN

9780769530758

Identifier

10.1109/HICSS.2008.435

Publisher

IEEE Computer Society

City or Country

Los Alamitos, CA

Additional URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/HICSS.2008.435