Travel Weekly's Technology E-letter: May 1, 2008

WORLDSPAN'S INTEGRATION into Travelport continues as Worldspan GDS users in the U.S. gained access to Travel Bound hotel inventory. Travel Bound, a wholesaler that is part of Travelport's Gullivers Travel Associates business, offers some 90,000 hotel rooms in 129 countries. Travelport used Worldspan's XML data exchange technology to establish the ties between Travel Bound's internal reservations system and the Worldspan GDS hotel booking system, giving Worldspan users in the U.S. access to real-time "availability, rates, rules and immediate confirmations directly from Travel Bound's internal system," Travelport said.  Worldspan users are the first to gain access to Travel Bound content in a GDS hotel booking system.

THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION introduced PowerofTravel.org, a Web site that delivers economic impact data on travel ranging from global trends to the details within individual congressional districts. Users can access data on such things as travel spending, tax revenues generated and jobs produced by the tourism market within congressional districts, for instance. The TIA created the site to give more visibility to the power of travel as a robust economic engine throughout the U.S. and abroad.

AMERICAN EXPRESS launched an online community feature with the debut of Members Know at www.membersknow.com. The Web site enables American Express cardmembers to share their raves and rants about their travel experiences and destinations. In addition to tapping into travelers' opinions, Members Know also features expert opinions from editors of AmEx-owned Travel+Leisure magazine. In addition to offering editorial content, the editors correspond with cardmembers through Members Know.

WHEREIVEBEEN.COM, a Chicago start-up that develops travel social-networking applications, introduced a social-mapping application on MySpace.com at myspace.whereivebeen.com. Users can click on locations on a color-coded map and share travel experiences with other MySpace users. Like Facebook did last year, MySpace in February introduced a developers platform that enables developers to write applications for MySpace. The WhereIveBeen application uses Orbitz air search functionality to enable users to shop for flights.

TRAVELPORT AND SABRE are owned by heavy hitters among private equity firms. The publication Private Equity International ranked Sabre owners TPG and Silver Lake Partners No. 3 and No. 17, respectively, on its list of the world's 50 largest private equity firms. TPG raised $48.8 billion in capital over the last five years, according to the publication, and Silver Lake raised $15.6 billion. Meanwhile, the Blackstone Group, one of Travelport's three owners, ranked No. 10 among private equity firms, attracting $23.3 billion in capital.

Technology Editor: Dennis Schaal 
[email protected] 
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