I was in Bangkok a few days ago with friends of mine and had the good judgment (helped by insistent tips from other friends) to stay at the western traveler mecca that is Khao San Road. We did multiple laps of the nearby streets in our short stay there.
Actually anything less than a month should be under that category for the gorgeous city that is Bangkok and the country that is Thailand)
The streets bustled with services and potable trinkets on sale, which make sense since you cant get travelers facing onerous luggage restrictions from buying the best selling local furniture hit of the year. From slick clocks to swiss army knives to paintings to CDs to the latest trendy shoes and iphone covers. If it was potable it was there. At throwaway prices if you had a modicum of bargaining skills. Luckily since we were from the right country for THAT, THAT was not a problem.
Now I need to add that I was in SE Asia thanks to cheap tickets on Air Asia and walking through the market browsing and occasionally buying stuff on sale I could not help wondering : If the internet allowed us to now transcend geography and buy/consume the best ideas out there, be it a magazine article in the NYT over the crud on timesofindia.com or a HBS Blog post over something in ET on corporate strategy, can cheap air fares over the long run ensure even the market for physical items went to the best out there ?
Why buy the overpriced BlackBerry or Laptop at the showroom here when you can for a deep discount at your next short weekend break. A decade ago laughable as a concept. Now, thanks to upstarts like Air Asia, who knows.
If the SVP for Strategy is mapping out market threats using Porter’s 5 competitive forces framework maybe she should add ‘dead cheap air travel tickets‘ in the Power Of Buyers section. And as a threat to their fat margins.
Cheap air fares could do for some industries what the internet did for others.