Big travel management companies are beefing up their hotel programs. They say it's a content play. Aggregating inventory, special prices and perks counteracts fragmentation. It gives their clients' travelers less reason to stray from managed programs. That improves reporting and risk management. All good stuff. But, wait. Follow the money.
First, a bit of history. U.S. airlines chipped away at base commissions in the years before and after the turn of the century. That led to an overhaul of TMC economics. Transaction fees charged to clients became the norm. But TMCs didn't forego revenue from suppliers. They . . .