The Travel TechnologyAssociation (Travel Tech), the voice of the travel technology industry and consistent advocate for public policy that empowers traveler choice, announces the election of Kelly Kolb of Travelport as Board Chair and Kirsty Ireland of Skyscanner to Vice Chair of the Travel Tech board. In addition, Maryam Mujica, Director of Public Affairs, Americas at Booking.com will serve as Board Treasurer and Jason Park, Head of Federal Government Affairs, Americas at Expedia Group as Board Secretary.

The incoming Chair, Kelly Kolb, Vice President, Government and Industry Affairs at Travelport most recently served as the Board’s Vice Chair. Kolb joined Travelport in May 2016, and in her role as Vice President of Government and Industry Affairs, she is responsible for leading Travelport’s global government affairs activities while working closely with the company’s business units on developing strategic initiatives.

Incoming Board Vice Chair, Kirsty Ireland, has served as Director and Head of Global Policy & Public Affairs at Skyscanner since 2014. Ireland’s role focuses on leading, shaping, and executing the company’s public and regulatory affairs strategy. She devises strategy across policy areas, including aviation, digital technology, platform economy, and consumer regulation, and engages regularly with policymakers and regulators at global, national, and regional levels.

“As the travel technology industry continues to navigate through unprecedented times and increasing consumer demand, I am thrilled to take on the role of Board Chair for Travel Tech,” said Kolb. “Working alongside our members and staff we will focus on driving innovation and advocacy for policies that support our industry and empower consumer choice.”

“I am eager to collaborate with the board, staff, and our members to drive growth, innovation, and results for our members,” Ireland added. “I am excited and honored to work with the Travel Tech team to build on the strong foundation as we chart a bold course for the future of the organization.”

President and CEO of Travel Tech Laura Chadwick, stated, “I am delighted Kelly, Kirsty, and our entire Board are lending their diverse backgrounds, years of experience, and dedication to advance Travel Tech’s policy agenda. I look forward to continuing our close collaboration as we navigate challenges, explore opportunities, and drive growth in the travel technology space for the benefit of the consumer.”

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About Travel Tech

The Travel Technology Association (Travel Tech) empowers traveler choice by advocating for public policy promoting marketplace transparency and competition. Travel Tech represents the leading innovators in travel technology, including global distribution systems, online travel agencies, metasearch companies, travel management companies, and short-term rental platforms.

To schedule an interview with a Travel Tech spokesperson, contact Dan Rene of kglobal at 202-329-8357 or daniel.rene@kglobal.com.

Travel Tech president and CEO Laura Chadwick testified at the DOT’s Public Hearing today on Airline Ticket Refunds and Consumer Protections. Her remarks are below:

Thank you for the opportunity to speak today on the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on “Airline Ticket Refunds and Consumer Protections.”

My name is Laura Chadwick and I lead the Travel Technology Association. Travel Tech is the voice of the travel technology industry, advocating for public policy that promotes transparency and competition in the marketplace to encourage innovation and preserve consumer choice. Travel Tech represents the leading innovators in travel technology, including global distribution systems, online travel agencies and metasearch companies, travel management companies, and short-term rental platforms.

As we wrote in our comments, Travel Tech welcomes the Department’s decision to define what constitutes a ‘canceled flight’ and ‘significant change to flight itinerary.’ These definitions will bring much-needed uniformity and clarity to what have been fraught and stressful experiences for travelers facing weather or airline staffing issues. Great customer service, whether before, during, or after a trip, is key to the value Travel Tech members offer. These definitions will help online travel agents better support their customers in navigating frustrating flight cancellations and the labyrinth of airline customer service systems.

With regard to the question at hand — how to determine whether a downgrade of amenities or travel experiences qualifies as a “significant change of flight itinerary,” I must note that Travel Tech did not in its comments address this particular point. We are, however, and as I noted previously, very supportive of the DOT’s efforts to provide uniformity and clarity over what triggers a refund. This helps ticket agents help their customers. That being said, we do find merit in the issues raised by the airlines in their comments and at this hearing over the inherent difficulty in determining whether a downgrade of amenities or travel experiences constitutes a “significant change of flight itinerary.”

Ticket agents rely on the airlines to make refunds or credit determinations. Ticket agents, in essence, enforce airlines’ decisions on these matters. As such, confusion over what a downgrade of amenities or travel experiences qualifies as a “significant change of flight itinerary” by airlines will likewise create confusion for ticket agents in explaining these determinations to customers.

I do also want to take a moment to address Travel Tech’s concerns about the change included in the proposed rule regarding the timing of refunds to customers by ticket agents. In its draft rule, the Department proposes that customers receive refunds within seven days. However, it takes up to eleven days for ticket agents to secure refunds from airlines’ payment and refund systems.

To require refunds before the funds are returned by the airline – as the proposed rule currently demands – would impose an undue financial burden and risk on ticket agents. We encourage the Department to revise this part of its proposal to reflect that airlines’ payment and refund systems are beyond the control of ticket agents.

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About Travel Tech

The Travel Technology Association (Travel Tech) empowers traveler choice by advocating for public policy promoting marketplace transparency and competition. Travel Tech represents the leading innovators in travel technology, including global distribution systems, online travel agencies, metasearch companies, travel management companies, and short-term rental platforms.

To schedule an interview with a Travel Tech spokesperson, contact Dan Rene of kglobal at 202-329-8357 or daniel.rene@kglobal.com.

Urges Legislators to Work With Industry Before Establishing Regulations   

The Travel Technology Association (Travel Tech) filed comments on legislation currently under consideration in New York that would further regulate short-term rentals by creating a registration system and increasing taxes on rentals. The comments shared by Travel Tech describe several problems proposed bill S. 885 creates that must be addressed. 

The filing points out that S.885 is inconsistent with several state and federal laws that regulate rental listings including the Communications Decency Act, and the Stored Communications Act.  

The filing also illustrates how other states have instituted registration systems that provide value to municipalities without placing an unnecessary burden on homeowners or rental platforms. 

“We are eager to work with you to create a legal framework for short-term rentals in New York State that balances the interests of municipalities, communities, and homeowners; however, several legal and practical problems with S. 885 require urgent attention,” Laura Chadwick, President and CEO of Travel Tech, wrote in the comments. “We urge you to continue to consult with our members and other stakeholders before establishing any new short-term rental registration system and regulatory regime.” 

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About Travel Tech 

The Travel Technology Association (Travel Tech) is the voice of the travel technology industry, advocating for public policy that promotes transparency and competition in the marketplace to encourage innovation and preserve consumer choice. Travel Tech represents the leading innovators in travel technology, including global distribution systems, online travel agencies, and metasearch companies, travel management companies, and short-term rental platforms. 

To schedule an interview with a Travel Tech spokesperson, contact Dan Rene of kglobal at 202-329-8357 or daniel.rene@kglobal.com. 

White Paper Submitted to House Transportation & Infrastructure  and Senate Commerce Committees

The Travel TechnologyAssociation (Travel Tech), the voice of the travel technology industry and consistent advocate for public policy that supports a competitive and transparent marketplace, released its priorities for the upcoming Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization by Congress. The priority list and related justification for the recommendations are contained in a white paper submitted to the U.S. Senate’s Commerce Committee and U.S. House of Representatives’ Transportation & Infrastructure Committee.

“The upcoming reauthorization of the FAA gives Congress a very timely opportunity to improve air travel for their constituents. Travel Tech members provide air travel booking services for millions of consumers each year,” said Laura Chadwick, President and CEO of the Travel Technology Association. “Our priorities for the reauthorization — ensuring ticket agents are a part of the US Department of Transportation’s consumer protection efforts, providing travelers with ancillary fee information early in the booking process and making timely refunds — are  aligned with Congressional efforts.”

Specific Travel Tech priorities include:

  1. Congress should amend the law to add a ticket agent representative to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Airline Consumer Protection Advisory Committee (ACPAC) to expand its industry knowledge base and improve the quality of its recommendations, ultimately benefiting consumers.
  2. Congress should allow ticket agents and airlines to have the flexibility to design appropriate displays of ancillary fees, which will allow for the development of more innovative methods of transparency for consumers.
  3. Congress should provide guidance to the U.S. Department of Transportation that all entities that airlines use to distribute their faresshould receive ancillary fee information to provide consumers with the quickest, most direct solution to ancillary fee transparency.
  4. Congress should continue to recognize the distinction between corporate travel agents and other types of ticket agents and again provide guidance to U.S. Department of Transportation that corporate travel agents should be exempted from the proposed rule.
  5. Congress should affirm the U.S. Department of Transportation’s current policy on refund timing and advise the Department to abandon its proposed new policy.
  6. Congress should support consumers by allowing ticket agents the flexibility to offer the purchase of ancillary fee-based services on their sites.
  7. Congress should be aware that customer complaints against ticket agents continue to be a fraction of those filed against airlines, active rulemakings are already addressing customer service market failures, and a competitive, independent marketplace of ticket agents continues to provide consumers with a multitude of options to seek better customer service practices.

Read the White Paper.


About Travel Tech

The Travel Technology Association (Travel Tech) is the voice of the travel technology industry, advocating for public policy that promotes transparency and competition in the marketplace to encourage innovation and preserve consumer choice. Travel Tech represents the leading innovators in travel technology, including global distribution systems, online travel agencies and metasearch companies, travel management companies, and short-term rental platforms.

To schedule an interview with a Travel Tech spokesperson, contact Dan Rene of kglobal at 202-329-8357 or daniel.rene@kglobal.com.

Any Future Regulations Should Apply Equally to All Entities Supplying Travel Pricing Information

[Arlington, VA] [February 8, 2023] – The Travel TechnologyAssociation (Travel Tech), the voice of the travel technology industry and consistent advocate for public policy that supports a competitive and transparent marketplace, filed comments today in response to the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) seeking comments on the “prevalence of fee practices that may be unfair or deceptive acts or practices,” (Commission Matter No. R207011).

Read the comments here.

“Travel Tech members are steadfast advocates for transparency. It is core to their business models and the services they provide to consumers,” stated Laura Chadwick, President & CEO of the Travel Technology Association. “Across all aspects of travel planning, transparency allows travelers to compare options, make informed choices, and receive the best value.”

In its comments, Travel Tech details how its members provide travelers with all information provided to them by accommodation suppliers so consumers are aware of the resort fees that will be assessed on-site.

Travel Tech’s comments also address how ambiguous or overly narrow rules potentially adopted by the FTC may impact the online travel marketplace.

“Any regulation in this area must apply equally to all entities advertising travel pricing information to consumers both online and offline. Without a level playing field, it could distort the online marketplace for travel, and lead to more consumer frustration, and not less.”

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About Travel Tech

The Travel Technology Association (Travel Tech) is the voice of the travel technology industry, advocating for public policy that promotes transparency and competition in the marketplace to encourage innovation and preserve consumer choice. Travel Tech represents the leading innovators in travel technology, including global distribution systems, online travel agencies and metasearch companies, travel management companies, and short-term rental platforms.

To schedule an interview with a Travel Tech spokesperson, contact Dan Rene of kglobal at 202-329-8357 or daniel.rene@kglobal.com.

The Travel TechnologyAssociation (Travel Tech), the voice of the travel technology industry and consistent advocate for public policy that supports a competitive and transparent marketplace, filed comments today in response to the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on “Enhancing Transparency of Airline Ancillary Service Fees” (DOT-OST-2022-0109).

“Travel Tech has long supported the U.S. Department of Transportation’s efforts to ensure consumers have access to critical ancillary fee information. We did so in 2014 and are doing so again in 2023,” stated Laura Chadwick, President & CEO of the Travel Technology Association. “For too long, consumers have lacked the consistent ability to know the true cost of different flight options.”

In its comments, Travel Tech addresses how ancillary fee information should be provided to ticket agents. In its proposed rule, the DOT seeks to omit global distribution systems from receiving mandatory ancillary fee data from airlines.

“Travel Tech strongly recommends that ancillary fee data be shared with all channels that distribute fare and schedule information,” Chadwick continued. “It is the most simple and direct way to solve the issue of ancillary fee transparency for consumers.”

Travel Tech also filed a petition today requesting a hearing on DOT’s proposed requirement to display the critical ancillary fee information on the first page of online search results. Travel Tech addresses this matter in its comments.

“Our members are the leading innovators in creating consumer-friendly online travel information sites. We are deeply concerned about the DOT’s first-page search results requirements included in the proposed regulation. These rules, if adopted as written, will clutter and confuse the online air travel shopping experience for consumers. This is especially true for travel comparison sites that display multiple airlines’ schedules and fares,” said Chadwick.

“In our comments and hearing petition, we argue that the Department should not displace ticket agents’ well-established expertise with a government-regulated website design mandate. Ticket agents should have the flexibility to design appropriate displays of ancillary fees and develop innovative new methods for consumers as well,” Chadwick continued.

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About Travel Tech

The Travel Technology Association (Travel Tech) is the voice of the travel technology industry, advocating for public policy that promotes transparency and competition in the marketplace to encourage innovation and preserve consumer choice. Travel Tech represents the leading innovators in travel technology, including global distribution systems, online travel agencies and metasearch companies, travel management companies, and short-term rental platforms.

To schedule an interview with a Travel Tech spokesperson, contact Dan Rene of kglobal at 202-329-8357 or daniel.rene@kglobal.com.

On Monday, January 9, 2023, the Travel Technology Association filed comments with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regarding the value of first-hand, timely traveler reviews. The comments, in response to FTC’s Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, focus on how consumers benefit from the ability to make informed choices when considering travel plans.

The comments state in part that “…Reviews or other quality rankings are often incorporated into search results to help consumers find, compare, assess, and book travel-related services based on a variety of factors, including value, quality, and safety. Consumers greatly value these services, and they are a key driver for travel planning and decision-making…”

In the filing, Travel Tech also encourages the FTC to “…utilize its existing authority to combat bad actors that employ the increasingly nefarious paid review-generation sites…” or “click farms.”

Click here to review the filing.

“On behalf of members of the Travel Technology Association, we congratulate Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Roger Wicker (R-MS) on the inclusion of their bipartisan Omnibus Travel and Tourism Act of 2021 in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 passed by Congress and signed into law by President Biden.

We look forward to working with the first Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Travel and Tourism, a new position established by the Omnibus Travel and Tourism Act.  Technology continues to be a critical tool in supporting consumer travel discovery and facilitating bookings and entry into the US.

Our members, the leading innovators in travel technology, including global distribution systems, online travel agencies and metasearch companies, travel management companies, and short-term rental platforms, stand ready to support the new secretary and their efforts to develop and implement a new national strategy to increase travel to and within the U.S.”

– Laura Chadwick, President and CEO, Travel Technology Association

Laura Chadwick, President and CEO of Travel Technology Association submitted comments concerning the Mayor’s Office of Special Enforcement’s Proposed Rules regarding short-term rentals in New York City.

Travel Tech advocates for public policy that promotes market transparency and competition to encourage innovation and preserve consumer choice. We represent the leading innovators in travel technology, including global distribution systems, online travel agencies and metasearch companies, travel management companies, and short-term rental platforms.

Travel Tech Association Letter re NYC LL 18 Proposed Rules encourages New York officials to work with Travel Tech members to identify a way forward that works for New Yorkers, travelers, and third-party booking platforms.

Travel Technology Association Advocates to Provide Consumers Transparency, and Options

Laura Chadwick, President and CEO of the Travel Technology Association (Travel Tech), the voice of the travel technology industry, advocating for public policy that promotes transparency and competition in the marketplace to encourage innovation and preserve consumer choice, issued the following Thanksgiving Day holiday message:

“Despite the challenges of inflation, demand for travel remains high. After the last several years spent apart, families and friends want to be together this Thanksgiving and for the upcoming holidays. Perhaps more so than ever before, we appreciate the value of in-person connections and experiences. Travel Tech member companies – including the leading online travel agents, metasearch platforms, travel management companies, global distribution systems, and short-term rental platforms – provide essential tools and services to help consumers get the most out of their travel dollars.

Undoubtedly, travel during the holidays will be challenged by weather and ongoing staffing issues at airlines. Travel Tech supports the U.S. Department of Transportation’s common-sense efforts to ensure travelers receive timely refunds for canceled flights and can access information ahead of time about ever-expanding airline fees, including the costs for families to sit together with their kids. While these matters are complicated and require flexibility in implementation, Travel Tech members strongly believe these are the right policies to protect travelers.

As we look ahead to 2023, the world’s leading online travel agents, metasearch platforms, travel management companies, global distribution systems, and short-term rental platforms continue to lead the way by putting traveler choice first, facilitating and maintaining a consumer-friendly marketplace. Bringing consumers the best booking options and purchase protections for their trip to reunite with their families and friends is something we can all be thankful for this year and beyond.”

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About Travel Tech

The Travel Technology Association (Travel Tech) is the voice of the travel technology industry, advocating for public policy that promotes transparency and competition in the marketplace to encourage innovation and preserve consumer choice. Travel Tech represents the leading innovators in travel technology, including global distribution systems, online travel agencies and metasearch companies, travel management companies, and short-term rental platforms.

To schedule an interview with a Travel Tech spokesperson, contact Dan Rene of kglobal at 202-329-8357 or daniel.rene@kglobal.com.

Travel Technology Leaders Provide Value as Holiday Travel Demand Rises

Travel Tech Releases New Economic Analysis on Costs of Phasing Out Legal Short-Term Rentals on Maui

June 13, 2024

Study shows short-term rentals generated $2.2 billion in economic activity for Maui and $11.3 billion across Hawaii in 2023 KAHULUI – Today, the Travel Technology Association and Hawaii economic consultant Kloninger & Sims released a study on the economic and fiscal impacts of the short-term rental market in Maui County and across the state. According […]