December 13, 2019
The Travel Technology Association
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Monthly analysis & insight on policy issues affecting the travel technology industry

With the end of the year fast approaching, Congress and the White House have been juggling several important issues that could have a tremendous impact on Travel Tech members. 

  • The House Energy & Commerce Committee held a hearing on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a law that has been important to the growth of the internet. Drastic changes to Section 230 could lead to consequences for the millions of consumers who visit Travel Tech members’ websites every day.

  • During a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on data privacy this month, senators debated whether federal law should override state standards and whether individuals should be given the power to sue companies that violate their privacy. Travel Tech continues to support a national data privacy law that is technologically neutral and applies across all sectors of the economy.

  • Several nations around the globe are targeting large technology companies by enacting new taxes on corporate revenue from digital services. Travel Tech commends the Trump Administration for standing up for U.S. technology companies by raising these concerns with the French government and urging international cooperation through the OECD.

Strange bedfellows as local battles over Airbnb attract Capitol Hill attention
Simone Pathé, Roll Call

The growth of Airbnb, Sonder, and other short-term rentals offers 3 key benefits for destinations
Melissa Wiley, Business Insider US

Amadeus and Sigfox Partner to Transform the Travel Industry's Tracking Capabilities
Market Screener

Houston NAACP teams up with Airbnb to help more people of color earn money
Damali Keith, FOX 26 Houston

Global Campaign Doubles Support for Airline Passengers with Disabilities
Stephen Delahuty, PR Week

States are moving to adopt economic nexus laws since the 2018 South Dakota v. Wayfair Inc ruling, but that legislation has resulted in both a series of unintended consequences and widespread revenue shortfalls when compared to the estimates provided ahead of their adoption. 

  • The Multistate Tax Commission’s Wayfair Implementation & Marketplace Facilitator Work Group white paper addresses implementation issues that states have faced since adopting economic nexus and marketplace facilitator laws, proposed solutions for defining marketplace facilitators, and a discussion of potential exceptions to facilitator collection responsibility, which in many cases is afforded only to “branded” accommodations. 

  • Comments from Travel Tech (Appendix K), Airbnb (Appendix L) and Booking (Appendix J) all support narrowing the definition of “marketplace facilitator/provider” as it is currently defined in a number of recently adopted state statutes.

  • With 2020 legislative sessions poised to get underway in many states next month, we anticipate states will begin to undertake a number of “clean-up” bills designed to address some of their current challenges, as well as the unanticipated revenue shortfalls.

Why We Do What We Do

Travel Tech’s Mission Statement reads “Travel Tech: The leading voice for innovators transforming the global travel marketplace for the benefit of the consumer.” 

Like any trade association, we represent a unique and defined constituency. The common thread that binds all our members is that each is a technology company that deploys solutions to connect consumers with travel suppliers, including airlines, hotels, homeowners, car rental companies, rail operators, tour operators, event managers and other travel offerings.

Our mission is multi-faceted. In 2019, we advocated for policies that protect consumers and enhance the marketplace to allow for consumers to effectively comparison shop. We promoted the extraordinary technology that our members deployed for consumers and for their travel supplier customers, helping them grow their businesses by reaching consumers across the globe while streamlining their processes and making their backend and front-end systems more efficient and effective. We defended our industry against unfounded and unsubstantiated attacks by industry groups trying to leverage public policy to limit or inhibit competition in the marketplace. And as we head into 2020, we will remain committed to our mission of giving a voice to the travel industry’s top innovators.

Travel Tech’s members truly are innovators transforming the global travel marketplace. Consumers and suppliers benefit equally from their existence. For anyone traveling this holiday season or for any travel provider greeting customers at their gates and front desks or front doors, remember that it was travel technology that made it all happen.

Everyone wants a slice of the short-term rental market. The latest sign that alternative accommodations have gone mainstream is that Kayak plans to promote a select set of professionally managed short-term rentals and boutique hotels in its travel search results. CEO Steve Hafner announced the new product, Kayak Premium, on Thursday at the Skift Short-Term Rental Summit in New York City.

Kayak Premium will launch on mobile starting next week for U.S. users. And in the near future, the search brand will begin to let signed-in users of its site check in and check out via Kayak’s mobile app if they’ve booked their stay through Kayak. The move required Kayak to sync with the technology systems of rental property management companies and hotel property systems. The new service also includes prominent banner and interstitial advertisements where Kayak as a brand recommends a handful of places to stay.

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