A trend for all seasons

A little-known cynic once defined a trend as something that the news media just can't stop talking about, and we confess we are guilty. We just can't stop talking about consolidation and concentration.

But we have a good excuse: Consolidation keeps happening. We had barely digested the news that Hertz will acquire Dollar Thrifty when Travel Leaders Group, itself a trophy case of acquisitions, announced that its Tzell Travel unit has agreed to merge with Protravel.

The move would combine two New York powerhouses in business travel and add some $800 million in annual sales to the Travel Leaders family, boosting Tzell's volume by about 50%, to over $2.35 billion, according to Travel Leaders.

We are often told that size doesn't matter, but the people who say that have it wrong. What they mean to say is that size doesn't always matter.

But when it comes to corporate travel, history has been teaching us that clients are impressed by scope, and suppliers are impressed by volume.

Unlike a number of other trends in travel and business, concentration and consolidation don't ebb and flow. There is no pendulum that swings one way, then the other. Rather, the trend toward bigness seems to be a ratchet that goes only one way, toward bigness.

It's what the world wants.
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