picks Amadeus, plans affiliate program

4th Dec 2000, which has been selling discounted travel online for nine months and is getting ready to launch an affiliate program, has selected Amadeuså‘s GDS technology and online reservations technology for leisure and corporate travel bookings.
Amadeus’ reservations technology will provide users real-time access to the schedules and availability for air, car and hotel with booking capability for over 500 airlines, 51,000 hotel properties and 49 car rental companies. Additionally, the website’s low fare search capability includes an “anytime” best fare search feature, enabling customers to access the best prices and options for their air travel. In addition to Amadeus, also works with online hotel reservation provider, Pegasus Sytems.
“Amadeus’ state-of-the-art technology, combined with our unique business model and superior customer service, will enable us to broaden`s global presence and revenue model for the future,” said Co-Founder and President George V. Chesteen., based” in Scottsdale, Ariz., offers discounts on travel, including air, hotel, car rental, vacations, and cruises, and a unique cash-back rebate to its customers.
“ is an excellent testimonial to how a modest travel agency with big ideas backed by savvy people and the best that technology has to offer can successfully compete in the online travel space,” said Bob Lowry, vice president of product management for Amadeus’ U.S. operations., founded by five friends with diversified background in the Internet, financial and modeling industries, operated as a brick and mortar operation for five years before going online last March.
“We have a great organization,” said Co-Founder and Executive Vice President Elliot Harris, a Wall Street Executive. “We are business men and we know how to run an organization.”
He said the partners believed that travel would thrive online and are going after the big players by using “the internet the way it should be used.”
He said the cash back policy, in which customers receive a check for half of the commission on their sale, sets the online agency apart from the others. “`s cash-back rebate will change the travel industry,” he said. “Our goal is to allow our customers easy access and deliver unprecedented information for making shrewd travel choices.”
According to Harris, prides itself on strong customer service, something he says its competitors are lacking. It offers live “24/7” interactive sales and customer support on its website and a toll-free number for customer service. “The people you get [when you call customer support] are not people who work at an Internet company, they are travel agents who work at a travel agency,” he said.
While Harris does not have exact figures on the site’s traffic, he said its customer base is in the millions. It has not advertised heavily, and is instead relying on word on mouth to build its traffic, which, he said is “doubling monthly.”
“Our target market is those who are already in the Internet,” he said. “We’re really just getting started and were trying to do it in a way that 90% is grassroots and word of mouth.” also is hoping to about to launch what Harris calls “one of the most aggressive affiliate programs” in the travel industry. It is working with Commission Junction, a Santa Barbara, Calif.-based company that helps dot-coms start their own affiliate marketing programs and has clients including, and Sandals. “It’s a prestige factor that Commission Junction will work with you.”
The company is financed by mainly by the partners along with a small group of venture capital investors.
“The bottom line is I fell in love with the product. We provide top notch quality travel advice,” said Harris. “Our goal is to be the player ... It’s not enough to think big you have to think enormous.”


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