Think Ahead: Jeffrey Katz

Jeffrey Katz

Chairman, president, and CEO
Orbitz LLC


Can you name one idea that was true two PC Forums ago but is no longer valid?

Two years ago, no one needed to have a viable path to profitability. Now people have returned to reality: We do need a path to market share and profits. But the bottom clearly had dropped out of the capital markets; this is not a friendly market for getting capital.

What business opportunity, partnership, or investment are you really excited about today?

What I’m excited about at Orbitz? Our timing. It’s nice that the market is at its bottom. It forces our competitors to rationalize toward profitability. The online travel marketplace is real and growing; all the fundamentals are there. Nobody doubts online travel will work; what no one knows is how it will work. We have the advantage of partnerships with 30 airlines, and that’s an enviable position to be in.

What will we be seeing and talking about at next year’s PC Forum?

A year from now, everyone will be talking about the digital divide. Fifty percent of Americans aren’t online. It really is the haves and have-nots. More people are going to become concerned about what that means for their businesses in the future.

Next year, there is also going to be more talk about what online fee models are working. Anyone who doesn’t have a plan for charging fees online is dreaming. We don’t know what the right model is yet, but we’ll know more a year from now.

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