RealTime IT News

Hotwire Gets Hotter

Discount travel service Hotwire, in a move that makes the service more competitive with Expedia, Priceline and Travelocity, today added 19 international air carriers and rental cars via Budget and Hertz to its partner list.

San Francisco-based Hotwire, backed by several major airlines, just last month began offering discount hotel rooms. It began selling discount air tickets last October. New airline partners include Aer Lingus, Air New Zealand, All Nippon Airways, Alitalia, Cathay Pacific Airways, Copa Airlines, Finnair, Grupo TACA, Iberia, Icelandair, Lufthansa Airlines, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Mexicana Airlines, Sabena, Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS), Singapore Airlines, Swissair, VARIG Brazilian Airlines and Virgin Atlantic Airways.

Hotwire's domestic airline partners -- American, America West, Continental, Hawaiian, Northwest, TWA, United and USAirways -- will also make their full international routes available to users, the company said.

Budget and Hertz will provide specially negotiated rental car deals, Hotwire said, adding that its customers can now rent from 200 airport locations around the United States.

Privately held Hotwire is backed by $75 million in venture capital from Texas Pacific Group and investments by founding airline partners American, America West, Continental, Northwest, United and U.S. Airways.

In just 100 days after it launched, Hotwire says it has sold more than 100,000 tickets and registered one million users to the site.

"We launched Hotwire just a few months ago with top-notch airlines and specially negotiated deals on domestic airfare," said Karl Peterson, Hotwire's president and CEO. "Now, the biggest names in hotels, rental cars and international airlines have joined to take advantage of the tremendous demand. This is a great vote of confidence for our business model, especially in light of current market conditions and the early stage in our company's growth."

Hotwire, which has been conducting an aggressive marketing campaign, says its airline, hotel and rental car companies provide a pool of specially negotiated prices not available anywhere else. Its airline tickets are non-changeable and non-refundable.