RIM (BlackBerry) to become an OTA?

Well, I guess it is yet too early to say, but on Monday this week at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona RIM announced its own travel product the BlackBerry Travel App. And this is an interesting move by RIM. Why? Let me ask the question who in the travel value chain is closer to the end user? An OTA (e.g. Expedia) or a Smartphone Device Manufacturer? The smartphone is used every day, every hour or sometimes a lots of minutes per hour, right? To get to Expedia, which I may use a few times a year, I need a desktop computer and I need to know the URL.

Source: BlackBerry App World

So the right strategy is to come far closer to the end user by cooperating with SDM. So did Expedia Affiliate Network who is providing the Hotel content for the Travel App. There are also other players within the value chain of travel, who could be closer to the end user than any OTA or travel supplier, the Mobile Network Operators (like Vodafone or Telekom). Those guys are losing voice revenues and are keen to find new transaction based business models.

At the end the user will decide whether they trust those new players or not. My personal opion: it’s worth a try…

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