Travel Weeklys Technology E-letter: Sept. 22, 2004

TRAVELOCITYS SITE59 today unveils a search engine that retrieves vacation packages for the specified destination as well as inventory for relevant alternate destinations. For example, a search for Paris packages this weekend will retrieve Paris packages for this weekend, other weekends and packages to London, Brussels, Amsterdam, Rome and Frankfurt. The search engine, the 59th-Minute Dash, will be deployed on the consumer site. Site59 said it can offers these alternate results because its packages cycle through its system in a rolling cache and are continuously updated based on changes in pricing and inventory. Site59 plans to roll out the platform to its distribution partners through the first quarter.

GALILEO launched a private fares product, Galileo Agency Private Fares, for agencies in the U.S., Canada and Latin America that it said automates the quoting, storing and ticketing of negotiated air fares. Galileo said agencies will benefit from improved accuracy because of a complete validation of rules and a fully integrated display of all applicable fares maintained by the agencies. The tool is Web-based, enabling agency administrators to implement or edit complex contracts, the company said.

CENDANTS HOTEL GROUP will establish a direct connection with Expedia and as part of a new distribution deal with the two IAC/InterActiveCorp companies. Cendant said its franchised hotels will be displayed prominently on the sites. The direct connection from Cendants central res system to Expedia and reduces the hotels distribution costs. It also enables the properties to manage inventory on a real-time basis through their property-management systems, said Peter Strebel, the Cendant Hotel Group senior vice president of sales and marketing.

THE BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS TOURISM BOARD will automate the scanning and analysis of arrival and departure statistics for marketing purposes. The move comes through an agreement with Travel Sciences, a Hartford, Conn., firm whose Travel Bureau product uses optical-scanning technology to derive marketing data from hand-written entry/exit cards. Being able to quickly and accurately understand more about our visitors and their demographic information and interests will position us to better market our product and better serve our customers, BVI Director of Tourism Kedrick Malone said in a statement.

EXPEDIA CORPORATE TRAVEL strengthened its presence in Europe with the acquisition of U.K.-headquartered World Travel Management. ECT said the purchase -- the terms of which were not disclosed -- of the agency strengthens its global travel offerings.


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