Skift Take

Mondee's highly tactical deal taps into Arthur J. Gallagher & Co's sprawling network of small businesses and associations, which could drive subscriptions for its TripPlanet platform.

Mondee has signed a deal with an affinity program manager and business benefits provider to shore up subscriptions to its corporate travel platform.

The travel technology firm, which plans to merge with blank-check company ITHAX Acquisition Corp to go public in the next few months, has entered into a strategic partnership with Illinois-based insurance brokerage Arthur J. Gallagher & Co, which owns Gallagher Affinity and Allied Business Network.

Mondee will now promote its subscription-based business travel platform TripPlanet through these ventures. Gallagher Affinity provides benefits for 300 national associations and affinity groups, and 25 million members, according to its website.

Meanwhile the Allied Business Network, which Arthur J. Gallagher bought in 2017, gives it access to a potential 287,000 small business clients. This network offers e-commerce access to products and services that enhance loyalty and provide rewards to members of affinity groups throughout the U.S., Canada and Europe.

Subscription models are rapidly gaining popularity coming out of the pandemic, but affinity partnerships could prove a profitable tailwind. Travel investor Certares recently bought Gohagan & Company, which develops small group, affinity travel programs.

TripPlanet offers flight and hotel deals, as well as including sustainability features, expense tracking, planning features, policy settings, traveler safety features and reporting to membership organizations, associations, educational institutions and non-governmental organizations, as well as small businesses.

“If you think about people getting back on the road, and taking three or four trips a year, something like affiliate travel is really attractive,” said Certares senior managing director Tom Klein at Skift Global Forum in January. “If you went to the University of Michigan, you get a couple of times a year a mail brochure, and it’s hanging out with other people from Michigan.”

Klein said these travelers were less likely to “price the trip out,” with the holidays creating a sense of community.

“We think it’s a segment that can be exploited,” Klein said, adding Certares had bought a similar company to Gohagen.

The business network and affinity partnership is the latest in a series of tactical deals for California’s Mondee. In 2020 it acquired airfare wholesaler Cosmopolitan Travel Service as well as buying Rockettrip in a bullish bet on business travel returning.

Mondee claims 4 million users already have access to TripPlanet since launching it launch last summer.

“At Mondee, we believe that continuing to strengthen our distribution network through subscription-based platforms like TripPlanet is an essential next step in our evolution and growth, and we are very pleased to partner with Gallagher to better serve value-savvy travelers in their network,” said Kim Andreello, TripPlanet’s senior vice president and general manager, corporate.

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Tags: california, certares, corporate travel, group travel, loyalty, mondee, rocketrip, skift global forum, skift live, spac, subscriptions, travel management

Photo credit: Califronia-based Mondee launched TripPlanet in summer 2021. Mattia / Bericchia Unsplash