If I’m not mistaken, the first time I encountered the word “disintermediation” was in 1997. At the time, I was covering the corporate travel and meetings industry, and the term was used by a self-styled “tech visionary” who was predicting the imminent demise of agents and brokers who handled corporate-travel business.

The web, it was explained to me, would allow a vice president of marketing to book the block of hotel rooms he needed for that critical sales meeting. Or the head of business development could arrange her own special-event space for a multi-city product launch.

The guru turned out to be…pretty darn wrong. In my years reporting on this market, I established good relationships and have remained in touch with many of these agents and brokers who were supposed to quickly go extinct. But here we are 14 years later, and almost all of them are still quite prosperously in business.

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