Independent Distribution Has Never Been More Valuable to the Consumer
Thanks to Travel Tech’s members, consumers have more travel options at their fingertips than ever before. From the GDSs, the unsung heroes of comparison shopping, to OTA and metasearch platforms, to TMCs and now short-term rental platforms, the ability for consumers and agents to search, compare and book travel has never been easier. Travel suppliers, including airlines, hotels and car rental companies want consumers to book direct, and many do. But for the brand-agnostic leisure traveler or the business traveler that needs expanded options to accommodate a complex business trip itinerary, access to the entire marketplace for travel is critical.
That is the value proposition of Travel Tech’s members and the independent distribution of travel. With the exception of the hotel lobby’s relentless pursuit to quash the growth of short-term rentals through scare tactics, misinformation and aggressive lobbying, the relationship between suppliers and independent distributors seems to be getting stronger. In recent weeks and months, there have been some examples of this. Airlines are recognizing the invaluable technology and capabilities deployed by GDSs to build and manage many of their most complex backend systems. OTAs and large hotel chains have made recent announcements on new collaborative approaches to managing wholesale rates. TMCs are working with GDSs and airlines to deploy NDC solutions. There are many examples of how independent distributors are assisting hotel brands with increasing and maximizing their own direct bookings.
All of this leads me to believe that the travel ecosystem is healthy and working well for suppliers and consumers. There will always be direct bookers and consumers who want to shop around for the best deals. As true intermediaries, Travel Tech’s members stand ready to lead their supplier, travel agency and consumer customers into the next frontier of travel distribution.