Travelocity.com, easySabre top $40M in Jan. sales

Here is a roundup of selected news announcements on the technology front:

  • Sabre said its consumer-direct Web sites, easySabre and Travelocity.com, got off to a roaring start this year, with $40.5 million in gross sales for January, nearly triple the sales of January 1998.
  • Worldspan said Westin Hotels and Resorts and Manhattan East Suite Hotels upgraded their participation to Hotel Source, the most advanced hotel booking product offered by the Atlanta-based CRS vendor.
  • Hotel Source, which provides Worldspan agents with a direct link to hotels' international reservations systems, now has 64 hotel chain participants, and Hotel Source bookings account for more than 90% of Worldspan's total hotel transactions, the CRS said.

  • The St. Petersburg-Clearwater (Fla.) Area Convention & Visitors Bureau claims to be one of the first bureaus in the U.S. to designate a staff member for marketing tourism through the use of emerging technologies.
  • Scott Schult, who previously worked for Marriott and has consulted on database marketing systems for the Evansville, (Ind.), Convention & Visitors Bureau, was named technology marketing director. "We are not just talking about someone to manage our Web site. Scott will incorporate the Internet and a host of other emerging technologies into our destination marketing," said Carol Ketterhagen, the CVB's executive director.

  • Uniglobe Travel Online Inc. (UTO) in Vancouver, British Columbia, said it will begin on-line advertising through the Yahoo! network of properties and Microsoft sites. The Yahoo! advertising relationship includes running UTO banner advertisements on cruise-related pages in the travel section of the Yahoo! directory, bringing Web shoppers to www.uniglobe.com, according to Michael Dauberman, senior vice president of operations for UTO.
  • UTO hopes to further develop its marketing relationship with Yahoo!, Dauberman said. In addition, UTO will begin running banner advertisements on cruise-related pages of Microsoft sites, including MSN Expedia.

    In October, Uniglobe signed a joint marketing agreement with MSN Expedia. "Millions of consumers are accessing Yahoo! and Microsoft on-line services on a monthly basis, so we expect dramatic growth in our site visits and bookings," said Dauberman. UTO is in discussions with other high-traffic Web sites, said Dauberman.

  • WizCom International in Parsippany, N.J., said it completed an interface between its Wizdom global distribution system gateway and the Micros-Fidelio central reservation system operated by Micros Systems in Beltsville, Md. The interface will enable Micros to offer its customers a greater variety of CRS connections types and provide hotel chains with easier access to WizCom's seamless connectivity and automatic rate and availability features, WizCom said. WizCom also announced an alliance with Denver-based Intermezzo Systems to integrate hotel property management systems with its central reservations system.
  • The Hotel Reservations Network in Dallas upgraded
  • its Web sites at www.hoteldiscount.com and www.180096hotel.com. The company said it added a faster processor, which it said enables browsers to navigate the site four times as quickly as previously and receive virtually instant booking confirmations.

    Also new: An on-line customer-service feature that gives users the capacity to review, change or cancel their reservations 24 hours a day and the ability to check hotel availability not only by check-in date but also by selecting a specific property.

  • The House of Blues Hotel in Chicago said it offers in-room Internet access through its television sets. The hotel plans to introduce high-speed connections for guests who want to use their own computers in their rooms to get onto the Internet.
  • Pegasus Systems adopted the new logo pictured here as part of a new "branding and corporate identity strategy" that included renaming some of its units. As reported, the Hotel Clearing Corp., a hotel commission processing service, is now called Pegasus Commission Processing, and This Hotel Industry Switch Co. is now called Pegasus Electronic Distribution. Pegasus said the new logo's red arrow arching upward through the "e" symbolizes the hotel reservations and commissions being processed through its systems as well
  • as the company's "upward growth."

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