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GetThere: Traveling With Its Customers

GetThere was recently known as GetThere.com. Of course, investors don't like .com's. So it appears to be a smart move to make the name change.

Although, in the case of GetThere, the change seems warranted. The company is not a consumer play; rather, it focuses mostly on the corporate market. GetThere develops technology to allow corporations to make it much easier for its employees to book travel reservations. In fact, GetThere was the first company to offer such a solution for the corporate intranet.

Of course, GetThere works on an application service provider (ASP) model. Thus, corporate customers do not need to shell-out huge sums to create their own system. Nor is there need for heavy training. The GetThere solution is easy to install and use.

With the system, employees can book reservations for airlines, hotels and even rental cars. What's more, it is easy to do price comparisons. Cost savings range from 10% to 30%, if not more.

The GetThere software is flexible. For example, you can set travel parameters (such as not allowing First Class flights). Also, it is easy to manage itineraries, as well as rewards programs.

The company has snagged top customers. They include CS First Boston, Nokia, Chevron and Kodak. Interestingly enough, GetThere has built sophisticated systems for United Airlines and All Nippon Airways.

The revenue model is based on transactions. And, the company has been showing results with the model. In the first quarter, revenues were $6.6 million, which was a 187 percent increase from the same period a year ago and a 21 percent sequential growth rate. In the past quarter, the company added 16 new corporate customers.

GetThere has also been aggressive with acquisitions. One was for AllMeetings (the price tag was $25 million in cash and stock). The acquisition will allow for meeting management features. After all, meetings are one of the most complex expenses to track and manage.

Travel is a huge expense for corporations. Accordingly, it is no surprise that companies are looking for cost-effective solutions. GetThere is leading the way in this marketplace. Yet, the stock price has been languishing. After reaching a high of $52-1/4, the stock now trades at 9-7/16. But the fact remains that the company has a big market opportunity and the right mix of customers and technology to eventually provide long-term value to shareholders.



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