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Statement by the Travel Technology Association on Important Role the Travel Technology Community Serves in the Travel and Tourism Economy


Steve Shur on March 19, 2020

"Travel Tech’s members, key industry stakeholders in the travel and tourism economy, have taken the critical steps necessary to support their supplier partners and consumers to curb travel in an effort to stem the spread of the virus. While these steps are without a doubt the right thing to do for our global community, they come at a considerable cost. 

“Travel Tech urges Congress and the Administration to enact relief policies that would support all travel industry stakeholders, including travel agents, both online and in the community, technology solutions providers such as global distribution systems, innovative travel platforms for short-term rentals and metasearch, and travel management companies. 

“Any measures taken to assist U.S. air carriers, hotels or cruise lines should include the independent entities that market, distribute, and support the services of those travel suppliers, many of which are suffering similar risks to their businesses, including the very real possibility of having to lay off employees.” — Steve Shur, President, Travel Technology Association. 


Background
 

Travel Tech’s members’ technology has transformed the travel marketplace from end to end — from the way individuals plan, search, and book travel, to the support provided to travelers during their trips and to the way suppliers market and sell to their customers — creating new efficiencies, promoting competition, and ensuring consumers and business travelers see all of their options, and travel in a productive and safe manner. In short, the travel and tourism economy relies heavily on Travel Tech’s members and their 31,000+ employees across 35 states. Our members are on the front lines of travel and tourism around the world and thus have seen firsthand the swift and significant impact the coronavirus has had on the U.S. and global travel industries. 

  • Fifty percent of air travel globally is booked through the independent channel (Travel Tech’s members), which means as the airlines are impacted by this outbreak, so too are the travel entities responsible for booking half of all air travel. 
  • Global distribution systems such as Sabre, Travelport, and Amadeus are integral to air travel, not just for booking tickets, but as critical IT providers that manage airlines’ most complex systems. 
  • Approximately 20 percent of U.S. hotel rooms are booked via online travel agents (OTAs) such as Expedia Group and Priceline. 
  • TripAdvisor influences $546 billion (10.3%) of global tourism spending worldwide via its metasearch and media platforms, informing travelers as they determine destination, length of stay, and total trip spend.
  • Approximately 70 percent of U.S. corporate hotel bookings and 80 percent of U.S. corporate airline bookings are made through travel management companies (TMCs) such as American Express Global Business Travel, CWT, and BCD – which are empowered by global distribution systems (GDSs). 
  • The majority of cruises are booked via travel agents. 
  • One-third of travelers have indicated that they have stayed in a short-term rental, enabled and powered by companies like Airbnb and Vrbo, and a majority of these entrepreneurs depend on the income to make ends meet.