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Entries in Orbitz (4)

Tuesday
Jun262012

Orbitz Guiding Mac Users to More Costly Hotels?

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Mac users who use the travel website Orbitz are shown different and sometimes more expensive travel options than shoppers using Windows, according to The Wall Street Journal.  The paper says Orbitz found Mac users spend as much as 30 percent more a night for hotels.

Now, the online travel agency is trying to use visitor information and track their online activity to try and boost sales.  

"Mac users probably have a little more disposable income than most, so if they're buying a more expensive hotels certainly you want to show them those hotels up front," says travel expert Rick Seaney of Farecompare.

Seaney says using customer information is acceptable as long as websites are not offering the same item at different prices based on that information.

"Definitely they're looking at the machine you come from, what type of machine. Are you using Internet Explorer or Safari or Chrome?" Seaney says. "They're looking at all those things and basically trying to make the best suggestions to use as possible, to hopefully get you to book."

That said, Seaney says hotels that make the company the most money will be more likely to be displayed, so he suggests that users sort search results by prices or by the cheapest options first.

Using customer information to tailor specific results can be beneficial for the website and the user.

"The one thing that they absolutely cannot do -- and if they do do it and they get caught, everybody will be up in arms -- is offer you a different price related to what kind of computer you came from," he says.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan052011

American Airlines Dropped by Another Travel Site

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- American Airlines says it now hopes to reach deals to resume ticket sales with Internet travel agent sites Expedia and Orbitz after dropping its fares from Orbitz last month and then seeing Expedia retaliate by partially hiding American fares from its search function.

American's announcement comes just as Sabre, a behind-the-scenes provider of airfare data to travel agencies, announced it will display American Airlines information less prominently.

These are just the latest development in what has become an escalating stand-off between American and ticket distributors over the fees associated with selling airfare.

Airlines pay fees to third-party sites, such as Travelocity, Expedia or Orbitz, that sell seats on their flights. Those fees can be as high as $4 per flight segment, according to Robert Mann, an airline consultant and president of R.W. Mann & Company.

American, like most of the major airlines, sells about two thirds of its tickets through third-party sites but has been trying to rein in those costs and also direct more customers to its own website, a model favored by Southwest Airlines. What makes Sabre's move particularity interesting is that the system, which services most of the airlines, was originally designed to help American with its bookings and was once part of the airline.

Sabre, along with Amadeus, Galileo and Worldspan, are known as a global distribution systems, or GDS, and they provide most of the back-end airfare data to traditional travel agents, corporate travel departments and online travel sites Orbitz and Expedia.

If American can't reach a resolution with Orbitz and Expedia, it is going to have to train customers to go through other channels to find its flights.

Any American Airlines tickets previously sold on these sites are still valid.

So far, no other major airline has followed American's lead in fighting with the big three booking sites. However, last month, Delta did pull its tickets off three smaller travel sites: CheapOair, BookIt.com and One Travel.

The travel sites aren't too happy.

"American Airlines is attempting to introduce a new direct connect model that will result in higher costs and reduced transparency for consumers, making it difficult to compare American Airlines' ticket prices and options with offerings by other airlines," Expedia said in a statement released last week. "American Airlines' direct connect model is of questionable, if any, benefit to travelers, would be costly to build and maintain and would compromise travel agents' ability to provide travelers with the best selection."

For its part, American says that ticket sales have not been hurt after the break with the travel companies, which has now lasted about three weeks.

Airfare experts say the ongoing battle will mean more work for passengers looking for the cheapest flights.

"The move does make things a bit more difficult for consumers in terms of comparison shopping, since they will have to remember to search American separately if using Orbitz," said Anne Banas, executive editor of the travel website SmarterTravel. "However, my advice would be to use a meta-search engine like Bing Travel or Kayak that searches multiple sites -- including Orbitz and American -- at the same time." 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec292010

American Airlines Continues to See Increase in Ticket Sales Despite Dispute with Orbitz and Expedia

Photo Courtesy - PRNewsFoto | JetBlue Airways(FORT WORTH, Texas) -- American Airlines thanked its customers Wednesday for their continued loyalty in the midst of a commercial dispute with two online travel companies, Expedia and Orbitz. 

Notwithstanding the dispute's prevention of American Airlines fares from being promoted on both travel sites, the airline reported seeing a year-over-year increase in its overall ticket sales since Dec. 21, when its schedules and airfares were removed from Orbitz.com.  The increase continued after Dec. 23, when Expedia.com began listing American lower in the search display than other airlines.

American Airlines noted that more customers have now shifted to other channels such as Priceline.com and Kayak.com, and it has also seen increased volume on its own site, AA.com.

"Our results to date show that customer choice is alive and well and that our customers continue to have thousands of options to purchase American's competitive fares and convenient schedules," said Derek DeCross, vice president and general sales manager at American Airlines.

DeCross also highlighted the company's interest in working with a variety of different distribution channels from conventional travel agencies to online and global distribution outlets.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec232010

American Airlines Stops Selling Tickets on Orbitz

Photo Courtesy - PRNewsFoto/ American Airlines(FORT WORTH, Texas) -- American Airlines is trying to reshape the way airline tickets are sold, pulling all its flights off the online booking site Orbitz.  The move comes less than a week after Delta pulled its tickets off three smaller travel sites: CheapOair, BookIt.com and One Travel.

Any tickets previously sold on these sites are still valid.

"The move does make things a bit more difficult for consumers in terms of comparison shopping, since they will have to remember to search American separately if using Orbitz," said Anne Banas, executive editor of the travel website SmarterTravel.  "However, my advice would be to use a meta-search engine like Bing Travel or Kayak that searches multiple sites -- including Orbitz and American -- at the same time."

The moves come just as Google is trying to buy the airfare search software company ITA for $700 million, an acquisition that is being reviewed by the Justice Department for possible anti-trust violations.

While ITA is not a household name, it has some of the most powerful airfare search technologies, often sold to third parties.  Google dominates the overall search market and has transformed areas -- think of Google shopping -- that it has entered.  Competitors say they fear that if Google buys ITA, it would control airfare searches and give preferential treatment to the highest-bidding advertiser.

So why would American and Delta make their tickets harder to find?  Money.  An airline has to pay a fee to any third-party site, such as Travelocity, Expedia or Orbitz, that sells a seat on one of its planes.  Those fees can be as high as $4 per flight segment, according to Robert Mann, an airline consultant and president of R.W. Mann & Company.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







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