Travel Agents

How worried should agents be about 7Travel?

Daisy Doctor

Last week, Channel Seven announced it would be debuting a new online travel portal.

7Travel offers trip advice, booking tools, and industry deals.

It is another example of the way consumer travel is changing, and how the internet is continually redefining the travel landscape.

The new OTA is positioning itself as a “go-to” travel destination site to be “inspired, plan and book a holiday”.

To launch the site, Seven West Media partnered with Carnival Cruise Line, Tourism and Events Queensland, Destination Gold Coast, Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia, New Caledonia Tourism and Tourism Authority of Thailand.

According to the release, 7travel will “deliver on great deals and a consumer-friendly approach to living the stories and experiences on Seven and then allowing Australians to experience it for themselves.”

So should the industry be scared? House of Travel’s Barry Mayo is dubious.

“We carefully monitor all competitor activity and we view the new 7travel as such, although at this stage it appears to be just a ‘click and book’ facility especially in the short-haul package market and is not overtly offering a full travel service,” Mayo said.

“Presumably this is a broadening of its consumer offering designed to build viewer loyalty and a new source of income,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mobile Travel Agents co-managing director, Roy Merricks said the move would naturally be scary to other OTAS.

“We see this as the launch of another transactional online travel agency, which is perhaps most threatening to other OTA’s not professional travel advisors with global connections and genuine client relationships.”

“It’s (the new Channel Seven OTA, 7travel) reminiscent of the banks and Yahoo7 for that matter moving, or trying to make a move on the travel segment,” Merricks added.

Obviously, the threat of a new market entrant can only be measured by how consumers latch onto it, and for Mayo, there’s a likelihood 7Travel will be the “shiny new toy”.

“People always like the shiny new toy so yes, I’m sure consumers will be interested in 7travel.”

“Its popularity long-term will depend on the quality and depth of product range, consistency of service delivery and value for money.”

Merricks also echoed a similar sentiment.

“If they get it right, 7travel might well take market share, but I believe from other OTA’s not from true travel advisors who are there to support and provide discerning clients with the very best options designed especially for them.”

Looking at the way 7Travel has been structured, Mayo said, “while the product range is currently limited, there doesn’t appear to be any shortage of operators willing to provide product.”

“The immediate consumer focus appears to be package destinations with high travel volumes.

“Experienced travel consultants such as personal travel managers who specialise in designing tailor-made and bespoke itineraries to meet individual client’s travel needs should not be threatened by the introduction of 7travel,” Mayo said.

Merricks, on the other hand, commented on 7Travel’s legitimate ties to the industry.

“It’s interesting to note the business name 7Travel is actually owned by a corporate travel management provider which is ATAS accredited and appears to be putting its foot in the water in the leisure segment, while the trademark is owned by Seven Network (Operations) Limited,” he said.

He added, “I think true experienced travel advisors are quite different to OTA’s in that we provide full service and support with global connections and knowledge, while OTA’s could be better described as Online Travel Aggregators and as such they really compete with each other.”

“Time will tell,” Merricks concluded.


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