Travel intermediaries in the US received a significant amount of bad press at the beginning of the pandemic. As most US residents cancelled their travel plans, many travellers who had booked through intermediaries had more difficulty receiving refunds than travellers who had booked directly with airlines or hotels.
Even as the pandemic raised new challenges for US travel intermediaries, Booking Holdings and Expedia Group, the country’s largest intermediaries, have doubled down on the goals they had before the pandemic: manage the entirety of a traveller’s journey. The pandemic put much of intermediaries’ operations on pause, but it gave them the ability to present a case to travellers as to why they should manage all of their bookings through one provider.
The recovery to date of the US travel industry has been incredibly uneven, and corporate travel intermediaries are facing one of the longest roads to recovery. Intermediaries such as American Express Global Business Travel rely on frequent travel to meetings and other events, which were virtually eliminated by the onset of the pandemic.
Before the pandemic, travel intermediaries were not the focus of the industry’s sustainability conversation. Much more of the conversation focused on travel providers.
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This report originates from Passport, our Travel Retail research and analysis database.
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