Expedia’s decision to step into bargain ticket pricing has led to open
warfare with Priceline in a battle for a corner of the travel market.
The tug-of-war for online travel customers may get a few more participants
in the match, according to a New York Times report. Priceline (PCLN) is
teaming with soon-to-merge Travelocity and Preview Travel (PTVL) to fend off
Expedia’s invasion into the market share.
According to the report, Expedia said that it added the name-your-price
feature when it realized customers were looking up fares on Expedia in
order to name a lower price on Priceline. An Expedia spokesman told the
Times that the service will include a feature allowing users to pick
the listed fare instead if it is lower than the name-your-price bid.
Priceline.com Inc. filed a suit against Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)
in October, claiming Expedia’s hotel booking service infringes on its
patent. Legal experts have said that this claim stands on shaky ground
because it is based on a business model patent.
Nevertheless, Priceline may add the airfare price invasion to its hotel
dispute, according to the report.
The company is expected to extend its unique pricing system to long
distance phone services in early 2000.