Rearden Commerce CEO Patrick Grady always has been highly quotable, but recently it seems his zinger machine is on high. "It's not bravado," Grady said in the midst of calling TripIt and the like just a "feature"
rather than a real business. In June, he talked about how he thinks booking tools were commoditized
and has since said "They're all going away." Speaking about Rearden's new partnership with Carlson Wagonlit Travel
, Grady made some, well, interesting comments about his company's other big travel management company partner, American Express. [more]
I asked Grady at the NBTA convention how the new CWT deal would help Rearden assert its independence from part-owner American Express. "We have largely gotten over that in the last 12 to 18 months," he said. "Early on, everyone thought we were Amex-centric because they took an equity stake and a board seat, and I think what we have proven now is Amex represents on the business-to-business side less than 40 percent of our customers. We'd like to see that continue to go down to the 10 to 15 percent range." He was speaking to the mix; of course, he'd like to see growth through the Amex partnership continue, Grady said.
At the same time, Grady was positively gushing about CWT--at the expense of other TMCs. "To me there's no other TMC that does it better than CWT," he said. And later: CWT's "consultative approach to travel management" is "the best" and its sales force is "among the more enlightened" and "sufficiently enlightened." Rearden has had to "teach" other TMCs "how to fish."
So, you might say, on these quotes I took the bait. Here Grady is getting "press" a la Michael O'Leary by being a, um, confident man.
Fair enough, but I will throw a little water on the CWT comments by again pointing out that CWT and Rearden share a common investor in One Equity Partners
. In January, I wrote in The Beat
about the potential for synergies among OEP's corporate travel investments--CWT, Rearden, Travel Leaders and Travelport--but at the time anyway, Rearden had revealed a particularly close relationship with neither a GDS nor CWT. That has since changed, with new Rearden-Travelport and Rearden-CWT arrangements.
Okay, that's bravado.