The nearly simultaneous arrival of the Oasis of the Seas and Las Vegas' CityCenter has sent many travel people back to revisit the age-old question, "Does size matter?" But it also invites us to consider, "Does timing matter?"
Cruise ships and hotels are some of the biggest investments that travel companies ever make, and it helps to time them just right. Ideally, you want to roll out hot new products when the market is expanding. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work out that way.
It certainly didn't happen with the Boeing 747. After five years in development, the radical new widebody jet entered service in 1970 -- just in time for a recession. Boeing kept delivering airplanes to airlines that didn't need the capacity, giving rise to airborne piano lounges. By mid-decade, there were acres of 747s parked in the Arizona desert, waiting for better times.
After that rocky start, the 747 went on to become one of the most iconic and successful aircraft designs in history, and it's still in production after 40 years.
We're hoping that, years hence, we will have similar stories to tell about big investments that are bearing fruit during the current unpleasantness, such as the Oasis of the Seas, CityCenter or the countless new or not-quite-finished hotels and resorts that dot the globe from Dominica to Dubai.
To all those similarly situated, perhaps the approaching 40th anniversary of the 747 is some comfort: A great product can survive an accident of bad timing.