Travel technology leaders making opposite bets as industry seeks to transform: Magister Advisors advises Mobile Travel Technologies Ltd on its sale to Travelport.

Within days, two of the largest travel technology providers announced strategic, but radically different, acquisitions: Tavelport announced its acquisition of Mobile Travel Technologies (MTT) and Amadeus announced its acquisition of Navitaire.

Multiple structural factors are at work together: traveller centric mobile and social platforms driving channel shift, the squeeze from airlines on global distribution systems (GDS) fees, the challenge to travel management companies and distributors to remain relevant in a fully connected world are all forcing the large travel technology providers to consider their strategic direction and options.

With the acquisition of Navitaire, Amadeus has taken a ‘standard’ route for an incumbent: increase economies of scale, expand immediate TAM by moving from high end into mid-market, and invest in an area that is well understood internally.

Travelport, however, has taken a bolder approach, continuing to ‘redefine travel commerce’ by investing in what is rapidly becoming the most important channel: mobile. The acquisition of MTT comes on the back of Travelport’s previous investment in enett (a payments platform for the travel industry) and enhances its strategy to differentiate from other distribution systems by providing a leading B2B platform for merchandizing and travel commerce.

In acquiring MTT, Travelport not only gained a best in class SaaS platform for airlines, hotels and travel companies to provide traveller facing mobile applications, but also what we believe to be the largest and deepest pool of mobile and cloud specialist talent in the sector — a potential strategic advantage ‘across the board’, for both Travelport and its customers.

Congratulations to the MTT team and Travelport.

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