Banks vs. OTAs: How Credits Cards Took Over Travel

Skift Take

There is a sea change taking place in how banks – and particularly how credit cards – interact with the travel industry. Watch what Skift Research has to say.

Earlier this week, Skift Research’s Seth Borko and Pranavi Agarwal hosted a LinkedIn Live session to discuss the evolving role of credit card companies in the travel industry. Their conversation built on an earlier Skift Research report about banking and travel loyalty.

The conversation, which you can watch in full below, starts with an overview of how credit card travel programs became so significant – particularly post-pandemic. Borko identifies key factors driving this trend, including competition for direct bookings, inflation, and the financial benefits for travel companies and banks.

Agarwal identifies the future implications, and notes that younger consumers are increasingly booking travel through credit card platforms rather than traditional online travel agencies (OTAs). She shows data that bank-branded travel platforms are becoming more popular and may outcompete OTAs, with high consumer satisfaction and extensive user bases.

The discussion also touched on the benefits for banks, including acquiring valuable demographics and leveraging the halo effect of travel.

Watch the Session

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For Closed Caption access, please watch on YouTube.

What They Said

Seth Borko: “Credit cards are now probably in many cases, the largest issuers of many hotel and airline mile and point currencies.”

Pranavi Agarwal: “[B2B deals are] a very important source of revenue for [online travel agencies]. But I think it’s important to note that it does come at a cost. It’s not free, nothing’s free.”

Seth Borko: “Could banks be poised to shake up the travel industry? I think that there’s a real possibility that travel loyalty could be reaching a limit in its current form.”

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