a number of occasions over the years we have expressed doubts about
bigness, growth for growths sake. Weve frowned on mergers. Weve
poked fun at mega ships and mega resorts.
But the mega ships
and mega resorts keep coming.
In this issue,
Royal Caribbean grabs the bragging rights for the worlds biggest
ship, as it begins construction of the Freedom of the Seas. And MGM
Mirage rings the bell in Las Vegas with plans for a $4 billion
city. No mere resort, mind you, but a city.
These events are
rolling by against the backdrop of industry rumors that more
mergers among mega agencies are in the pipeline. There are reports
in the financial press that consolidation among airlines is both
essential and inevitable.
fragmented hotel industry has been on the consolidation road for
years. Among the acquired within just the last year were Baymont,
Extended Stay America, Prime Hospitality, Boca Resorts and John Q.
The North American
ski industry, explored in this issues Centerpiece report, is mostly
the domain of a handful of players -- all big.
Size, of course, is no
guarantee of success, but it is often its symbol and reward. Some
of the most successful companies in travel started very small and
now rank among the biggest -- Carnival, Hilton, Marriott, Carlson,
Like it or not, we
are reminded this week that travel is a big business, and some of
our big industry leaders are doing what the best big leaders tend
to do: producing bold, expensive, forward-looking
Anybody can run a
tour boat or open a bed-and-breakfast. But a mega ship? A city? For
that, you need the big guys. So, heres to you, big guys.
Congratulations to the Big Apple, once
again. Those sophisticated readers of the Sunday Times of London
Travel Magazine have voted New York as their Best Worldwide
editor in chief, Jane Knight, has been quoted as saying, New York
deserves to win. We agree. Think of it: Best in the world! How cool
is it to beat Paris and Venice?
Of course, its just
a magazine popularity contest. No big deal, really. Still, as Big
Apple boosters, well take it.
Barring last-minute snags, Orbitz will be a
part of Cendant by the time you read this.
Orbitz, in its
brief life as an instrument of airline world domination, produced
far more anxiety than it deserved to, and were glad that age of
anxiety is over.
The Cendant family
includes such mainstream travel industry citizens as Avis, Budget,
Galileo, Ramada and Howard Johnsons.
Hardly The Addams