Hey, I only gave myself full marks for one out of five predictions in 2009, so forgive me for going on a bit about the one I got right (and pretending that coming up short on the others didn’t really exist) – the prediction I’m referring to is Location, Location, Location. If you’re still a skeptic, take a look at this excellent summary from Search Engine Land of all things local from 2009. No doubt at all that local search, online maps, mapping mash-ups, GPS enabled phones and downloadable apps all converged and hit critical mass in 2009. 2010 will see it getting even bigger, and the airlines that haven’t figured it out will have no shortage of conferences on the topic to choose from – you might even find me speaking at one before the year is out!

Whilst on the topic of predictions, I saw this great one from the Professor Sabena blog (not too hard to find out who he really is if you are curious). He loves writing about a topic that I avoid like the plague – GDS’s; but the quote of his that really hit home with me was:

Trend of the year will be Merchandising although some airlines will get this wrong in spectacular fashion.

I made a similar prediction but by a different name (Rebundling is the new A La Carte), although the theme is very similar; airlines will place a much greater emphasis on differentiating their fares in the market place to ensure that passengers actually perceive more value from higher fare families, and properly differentiated fare families will become common across more channels than just the airline website. I know of one US carrier making very big efforts in this area today, and many others globally who are already giving it serious attention. Professor Sabena’s post is a great read, as the guy is making more predictions than a weatherman. The upside is that apart from being an entertaining read, it almost guarantees that a greater number will come true!

Finally, I’m reminded of a conversation a while ago with a widely respected airline e-commerce executive who told me that the first person he ever heard use the term Fare Family was a colleague of mine at Amadeus called Christian Von Thuemen. I’ve got no idea who really invented the term that is now so widely used in the airline industry, but until someone gives me compelling evidence to the contrary, I suppose Christian can take the credit.

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