To qualify for the 2020 Power List, a company had to have a minimum of $100 million in travel sales in 2019. For purposes of this survey, sales are defined as gross sales of travel products worldwide, whether to consumers or to corporate travelers; the company must be the merchant of record on the transaction from a supplier's perspective. At least 15% of the sales volume must have been generated in the U.S.
The questionnaire was sent in February to companies that had appeared on the list in previous years; had contacted Travel Weekly believing they qualified; or had been in the news because of acquisitions or had grown for other reasons.
As has been the case for years, Travel Weekly requested that gross sales volume be certified by a company's owner, CEO or CFO. In a small number of cases, certification was made by an executive at the vice president level but with financial oversight.
Some companies that may have qualified opted not to participate; see our introduction as well as "A note on Booking Holdings." While all cooperating listees did certify sales (or made them public), it must be kept in mind that even those numbers are difficult to verify because the great majority of travel sellers are privately held and under no obligation to disclose financial data.
Also, there is no commonly accepted standard for calculating sales volume, and there is no clearinghouse in the U.S. that tracks nonairline sales, as ARC does for airline sales. Where possible, Travel Weekly sought to confirm accuracy in the figures by, for example, reviewing responses for consistency and used whatever resources we had at our disposal to ensure accuracy.
The survey on which these rankings were based also included questions involving ARC sales, travel-related subsidiaries, percentage of sales from business and leisure, corporate structure and others.
There were several open-ended questions about recent and planned developments to which companies could reply in any way they felt appropriate. Responses determined the length of the profiles that accompany each agency. A few companies, chosen by Power List contributing editor Jason Notte, are the subjects of Power List Profiles that demonstrate the diversity of listed companies. This year those profiles are of Ovation Travel, Uniglobe Travel Partners and Executive Travel.
There may be companies that should be on the list but escaped our attention. Representatives of such companies should email email@example.com so we can send them a questionnaire for next year's Power List.