RealTime IT News

Orbitz Teams With Hotwire

Chicago-based Orbitz, the new online travel site backed by a consortium of airlines, inked a co-marketing deal with discount travel site Hotwire that gives Orbitz users access to Hotwire's Hot-Fares and Hot-Rates that are said to be below published prices.

Hotwire customers who want to pick precise flight times and choose from multiple carriers and flight options will be able to access Orbitz via a link on the Hotwire site. Financial arrangements were not disclosed.

Hotwire will be the opaque booking engine for Orbitz and Orbitz will serve as the non-opaque booking engine for Hotwire, the companies said. Both companies will continue to function independently.

"The agreement enables Orbitz to enhance its offerings to appeal to all kinds of travelers, from the most time-sensitive to the most price-sensitive," said Orbitz CEO Jeffrey Katz.

"The deal will change the way people shop and buy travel online," said Hotwire CEO Karl Peterson. "We offer what no one else can, consumer-friendly, specially negotiated Hot-Fares that are well below published prices. This partnership is another way for us to reach new markets and expand consumer awareness."

The travel sector is currently hot, as witness the USA Networks deal for Expedia and Travelocity's posting of a second-quarter pro forma profit of 8 cents per share yesterday. So this agreement would seem to make sense for both companies, which indeed have some of the same airline investors.

San Francisco-based Hotwire, founded only last October, announced an expansion of its service in February, adding 19 international air carriers and rental cars via Budget and Hertz to its partner list.

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.

Orbitz, which launched in June, was developed by a consortium that includes American, United, Northwest, Delta and Continental.