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Business / COVID-19 / Hiring / Travel

Following pandemic-related losses, DC-based Upside Business Travel is closing its doors

"As a company, we fought hard to the end and we decided to act now while we still have sufficient capital to conduct an orderly wind down of the business," Upside wrote in a statement.

Upside set out to improve the business travel industry. (Photo by Flickr user Brett Levin, used under a Creative Commons license)

After almost six years, DC-based Upside Business Travel is winding down the business following pandemic-related travel reductions.

In a Linkedin post announcing the news, company CEO and cofounder Scott Case said that despite the company’s efforts over the last 18 months, it was not able to overcome the COVID-19 losses. The firm primarily offers booking and travel management services on flights, hotels and rental cars for individuals and companies traveling for work. Case founded the company alongside Priceline founder Jay Walker in 2016, and it quickly grew as a resource for work travelers.

“I’m sad and frustrated about how things have ended up, but I’m also incredibly proud of the entire team,” Case wrote. “I take comfort in knowing we worked hard to make Upside an awesome company that delivered exceptional products to our clients and remarkable support for each other. We fought hard but in the end, the pandemic beat us.”

The last 18 months dealt a large blow to the travel industry as a whole. A Deloitte Insights report, though, noted that business travel has been slower to come back than personal travel, especially considering that many events and conferences are still virtual. Many offices and employees, too, are still working remotely, removing the need to travel to other locations.

In a formal announcement, Upside cited the extended uncertainty about business travel returning to its pre-pandemic levels as the cause for the shutdown. This concern made it difficult to raise additional capital or determine an alternate path, it said in the post.

The decision to end business now, Upside said, came because it wanted to be able to close properly. Existing airline tickets booked before the company’s close on September 24 will either be refunded or moved to a ticket-on-file with another travel agency.

“As a company, we fought hard to the end and we decided to act now while we still have sufficient capital to conduct an orderly wind down of the business, take care of our employees and other obligations, and transition clients,” Upside wrote in its statement.

Case, who has previously written about the importance of keeping employees engaged in uncertain times, encouraged those hiring to reach out to help place former Upside employees in new positions. The company currently lists 78 employees on its LinkedIn page.

“If you are looking to hire the best and brightest that I’ve ever worked with, please reach out to anyone on the Upside team and I guarantee you’ll be impressed,” he wrote.

Companies: Upside Business Travel

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