ORBITZ FOR BUSINESS introduced an executive travel
service in which Orbitz processes upgrade requests, priority wait
listings and preferred seating requests for travelers. Expedia
Corporate Travel recently launched an executive travel service as
well. Also available to Orbitz for Business customers is an
exception-code feature that recommends lower-priced flight or car
options to travelers, and requires them to enter a reason why they
are not buying the lower-priced option. Exception codes can be
customized. For example, fare parameters may apply only to certain
city pairs. A fare and rate filtering tool, which displays only the
rates of preferred suppliers to travelers when those rates can be
applied, will be available before the end of the second quarter,
said Orbitz. This feature will be available for air, car and hotel.
Also by the close of second quarter, Orbitz said it plans to launch
a "flash report" service that allows travel managers to retrieve
real-time data on demand.
TRX said 10 travel agencies have agreed to
distribute the company's re-designed corporate booking tool, RESX.
Navigant Int'l, WorldTravel BTI, Adelman Travel Group, Garber
Travel and Travizon--all agencies in Travel Weekly's Top 50--are
among the agencies that signed distribution agreements. RESX, which
launched earlier this year, composes a complete itinerary for
business travelers instead of requiring travelers to shop for each
part of the trip separately.
HIGHWIRE, the Cendant division that provides an
Internet self-booking tool for corporations, won the business of
one very high-profile company - Nike. Nike was one of the early
adopters of a self-booking tool, choosing GetThere in the late
1990s. In many company statements, GetThere touted Nike as one of
its blue-chip clients. Nike director of travel Ted Cullen did not
return a phone call seeking comment on the supplier switch, but
Travel Weekly has learned that Nike probably received a "sweet"
pricing deal that GetThere wasn't willing to match.
CENDANT'S LODGING.COM and Carlson Hotels
Worldwide signed an agreement giving Lodging.com customers expanded
access to discounted and net rates at more than 860 Carlson brand
properties, including Regent Int'l, Radisson Hotels & Resorts,
Park Plaza, Country Inns & Suites By Carlson and Park Inn
hotels. "Our new partnership with Lodging.com offers our hotels
participating in the NetRate Program a simple, cost-effective
online distribution channel," said Christine Brosnahan,
vp-reservations and distribution services, Carlson Hotels
Worldwide. "Being part of Lodging.com's flexible and hotel-friendly
program will increase room night productivity and provide a viable
option for our hotels to sell rooms online." The deal will provide
Lodging.com affiliates, including CheapTickets.com, with access to
TRAVELWEB, the Internet distributor of merchant
hotel rooms owned by five major chains and Pegasus, is not afraid
to toot its own horn by declaring itself an innovator. "Hilton,
Hyatt, Intercontinental, Marriott, Pegasus Solutions and Starwood
knew what they were doing when they founded Travelweb," the company
said. "It is gratifying to see established online distributors
following Travelweb's lead by offering suppliers and customers a
more-automated merchant model."