Are banks becoming travel companies? –

@Adam Nir

The American bank Citi, the British neobank Revolut and the financial holding company JPMorgan Chase have all made acquisitions and partnerships recently in order to develop the reservation of tourist products. Are they becoming new competitors to travel agencies and tour operators? Decryption.

As we wrote a few weeks ago, banks have recently shown an attraction to the world of travel, while the sector is gradually picking up after the health crisis. A year ago, the British neo-bank Revolut announced the launch of Stays, its accommodation booking service in partnership with Expedia. Citi wishes to offer the reservation of hotel rooms, plane tickets and car rental through its Citi Travel service thanks to a partnership with Booking. Finally, the American financial holding JPMorgan Chase announced the creation of its leisure and business travel agency by the end of the year thanks to the acquisition of cxLoyalty, a company specializing in loyalty and travel agency Frösch.

What should we see in these tourist developments? “We must not forget that these movements take place in the United States and that the phenomenon is not so new. American Express is a historic leader in business travel,” analyzes Julien Meir, Director at Montefiore, investment specialist in small and medium-sized service companies and Nov Tourisme fund management company.

According to him, the interest is above all to develop an offer of additional services in order to reward their customers. “I don’t think it’s a real strategic shift in the tourism market, it’s more about having a direct channel to allow, via loyalty programs, to spend points by buying travel, rather than do it externally. These banks are not intended to do so outside of their network of customers.he explains.

Give benefits to their customers

Asked by, Revolut highlights the win-win side of its Stays service: “It was only natural for us to launch our own travel product. There are very few companies in the world that can offer high quality travel products alongside financial products. Cashback is one of our main value propositions: our users can book hotels through the “Stays” function of our application at the same price as Expedia, but they also benefit from a 10% cashback. is a win-win,” says Pierre-Alain Guillou, Head of Product for Lifestyle at Revolut.

For its part, JP Morgan Chase affirms that the goal is to allow its customers to be able “get the most out of their money”. The holding company is proud to position itself among “one of the premier travel providers in the United States”.

A target that should expand

Will these tourist activities be confined to customers of banks and neo-banks? Pierre-Alain Guillou, Head of Product for Lifestyle at Revolut, says otherwise: “Right now, Revolut Stays is only available to our users, but we are looking at several initiatives to change that. We are already working on expanding our travel offering to provide more products – looking at car rentals and airfares for example – and better offers to our customers and soon to their friends and family. “.

When Revolut forms a partnership with Expedia and Citi approaches Booking, it does not change much for the tourism sector. The neobank and the bank are then additional intermediaries. On the other hand, when JP Morgan Chase, the largest bank in the United States, buys a travel agency, it is a loss of earnings for American companies in the tourism sector. And in this case, the more customers the bank gains, the more it is potentially a threat to them. If it is not a “structural trend”, as Julien Meir reminds us, it nevertheless remains to be monitored.

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Are banks becoming travel companies? –