Communications of the Association for Information Systems


A group of industry experts was assembled as a Delphi panel in 1997-1998. They were asked to predict the effect that Electronic Commerce technologies and disintermediation and reintermediation would exert on the major firms in the U.S. air travel distribution industry in each of five major market segments. The panel forecast that major disintermediation and reintermediation would occur and that there would be a sharp reduction in the number of traditional travel agents five and ten years in the future. The panel also identified a number of strategic threats and opportunities for the channel participants. This paper compares the panel's predictions to what actually occurred and describes technology-related developments that the panel did not foresee. In particular, the panel predicted a major reduction in the number of travel agent entities between 1997 and 2002, as well as in 2007. By the end of 2002, the panel's forecast was very close to what actually occurred. Our overall conclusion is that the Delphi method worked well as a predictor in this instance.