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Five years ago... Delays leave online travel site stranded

But Geldof's first mover advantage ultimately wasn't the point
Written by silicon.com staff, Contributor

But Geldof's first mover advantage ultimately wasn't the point

14.04.99 After six months of delays, flight reservations website Deckchair.com will finally go live today.

But many observers think the service, founded by rock star-turned-media mogul Bob Geldof, has lost its unique selling point in the interim.

At the launch in September 1998, Geldof promised unique features such as information on flight availability, fare discounts, personalised travel arrangements and online bookings.

Deckchair.com was originally due to go online in October. The release date was then postponed to 28 November, then the end of January and finally to 14 April.

The delays were initially caused by failure to secure a leased line.

In September 1998, Geldof was sure he was stealing a march on the IT industry. He said at the launch: "It's a very simple concept that comes from me having two espressos on a windy afternoon outside the Picasso on the King's Road. It's something that should have existed but doesn't."

14.04.04 What we find amazing is that Deckchair.com is still up and running. It was but a stone's throw away from Silicon Towers (of old) that the man behind Band Aid/Live Aid had his big idea - only his first-mover advantage didn't necessarily amount to much.

Selling travel online was a logical step, for start-ups and established operators alike, but as Tony Hallett's column from yesterday makes clear there won't be room for lots of mainstream providers soon.

Still, the current Deckchair.com looks surprisingly good.

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