But the real question is, does all this consolidation help or hurt consumers? airline industry has undergone the most dramatic consolidation in its history, leaving travelers with just three major network carriers -- American, Delta and United.
You compare rental rates at Hertz, Dollar, Thrifty.
You even consider a cruise on Carnival, Holland America, Princess.
Back in 2002, the Federal Trade Commission conducted a 10-month investigation before voting 3-2 to allow Princess Cruises to be acquired by Carnival rather than Royal Caribbean.
However, the dissenting opinion noted, "there is a substantial likelihood that either merger will significantly lessen competition in violation of the Clayton and FTC Acts."Such concerns focus on a handful of corporations controlling multiple brands worldwide, such as:* Carnival Corporation owns nine lines, including Carnival, Costa, Cunard, Holland America, P&O, Princess and Seabourn* Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings owns Norwegian, Oceania and Regent Seven Seas* Royal Caribbean Cruises owns six lines, including Celebrity and Royal Caribbean• Lodging The largest sector of the travel industry contains hundreds of brands and thousands of properties, so competition would seem to be robust.
Regis, W Hotels and Westin* Wyndham operates 14 brands, including Baymont Inn, Days Inn, Hawthorn, Howard Johnson, Knights Inn, Ramada, Super 8, Travelodge and Wyndham Shrinking online travel?
OTAs are not as plentiful as many consumers believe.And in most industries, customers are best served when competitors fight fiercely to please them, not link arms as siblings.Gobbling up the competition may help a parent company's bottom line, but it weakens the marketplace for consumers.Expedia owns 12 travel brands, including Travelocity, Hotwire, Hotels.com, Car and Egencia; Priceline owns Priceline, Kayak and As Charisse Jones noted, some travel companies are concerned about an Expedia-Orbitz marriage.Others point to cross-pollination, such as stronger reward programs.