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.

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