< PrevNext > Mike Premo, ARC President and CEO Omnichannel Assembler By Adam Perrotta / December 10, 2020 / Contact Reporter Share Air booking transaction settlement provider Airlines Reporting Corp. made a splash early in 2020, acquiring a majority stake in booking app developer NuTravel, which operates a direct air booking platform. Following ARC's 2019 investments in off-channel data capture specialist Traxo and blockchain-based booking and transaction management supplier BlockSkye, the NuTravel deal was the next major step in ARC's push to play a greater role in corporate travel transactions booked outside of traditional agency channels.For ARC president and CEO Mike Premo, the trio of complementary deals were designed to address what he described as a blurred line between direct and indirect booking in the eyes of business travelers, which increasingly were being pulled to airlines' websites for booking. "It's becoming clear that the gravity pulling particularly business travelers to airline websites is creating challenges for the TMC ecosystem as well as corporate travel managers," Premo said at the time of the investment. "This seemed like a fairly interesting space for ARC to do something that aligns with that high-level mission and see if we couldn't find some ways to take some of the friction out of this."NuTravel's Universal Connect integrates within airlines' direct booking sites and mobile apps, overlaying corporate travel policy, rates and payment methods, while enabling travel managers to track and manage those direct bookings. But ARC's omnichannel vision maintains a central role for TMCs, in the form of servicing direct bookings and providing other support and advisory services—and that role has taken on even greater importance since the onset of Covid-19, Premo noted."We believe that ... the crisis will only accelerate the trends that existed beforehand," Premo said. "Suppliers, TMCs and corporations all need better tools to manage business travelers' access to the comprehensive content that the airline direct channel provides, and at the same time, provide the attentive service and vital duty of care that TMCs provide and corporate travel managers demand."Premo said the upped onus on duty of care among travel managers will lead many to find greater value in working with TMCs to track travel restrictions, quarantine measures and health considerations. He predicted TMCs that can combine those support and intelligence services with flexible booking capabilities—including the direct channel—will be "critical for a complex post-pandemic environment." Premo joined ARC in 2006 as its vice president of business development and was named president and CEO in June 2011. Under his leadership, company revenues grew 44 percent. He will retire at the end of this year. Current ARC EVP and COO Lauri Reishus has been named as his successor.