Study Reveals That American Express’ Online Booking Solution Offers Lower Fares Than Orbitz, Travelo

9th Jun 2004

American Express Corporate Travel
have announced the results of a study confirming that in one-on-one comparisons, American Express fares are significantly lower than those provided by both corporate and leisure offerings from Orbitz, Expedia and Travelocity.  In a separate pair of studies, it was also revealed that business travelers are rapidly moving to use online ticketing offerings in the workplace, and that both Europe and Latin America are poised to achieve the same adoption rates as North America in the next few years.

The online pricing study was conducted by Harrell Associates, a leading airline and travel consultancy, on behalf of American Express.  It found that American Express’ online airfares are:

* 9% - 11% lower than Expedia®? ($74 - $92 per ticket on average)
* 11% lower than Orbitz ($82 - $91 per ticket on average)

* 11% - 12% lower than Travelocity®?($94 - $102 per ticket on average)

“This pokes another hole in the myth that the online travel agencies are the more efficient choice for online booking,” said Rich Miller, vice president and general manager for the Interactive Travel Group at American Express.  “These results substantiate what we have known anecdotally and through our own internal research for some time.  Online booking through American Express delivers consistently lower fares than the online agencies.  Through the supplier discounts we are able to negotiate, plus our ability to book low cost carriers online, we can offer our clients significantly greater value when booking online.”

Harrell Associates conducted an airfare analysis that identified the top 110 heavily traveled routes (100 domestic / 10 international) for small business travel customers, and tested these routes against a number of variables.  Each route was tested simultaneously across the following booking sources:


? American Express’ online corporate travel booking tool

? Orbitz “leisure” site and Orbitz For Business site

? Expedia “leisure” site and Expedia Corporate Travel site

? Travelocity “leisure” site and Travelocity Business site

In direct comparisons to Expedia, American Express returned fares that were on average 11% lower than the Expedia “Leisure” site and 9% lower than Expedia Corporate Travel, resulting in savings of $74 - $92 per ticket on average.

In direct comparisons to Orbitz, American Express returned fares that were on average 11% lower than the Orbitz “Leisure” site and 11% lower than Orbitz for Business, resulting in savings of $82 - $91 per ticket on average.

In direct comparisons to Travelocity, American Express returned fares that were on average 12% lower than the Travelocity “Leisure” site and 11% lower than Travelocity Business, resulting in savings of $94 - $102 per ticket on average.

“While the bulk of recent media attention makes it seem that it is less expensive to book an airline ticket using the online travel agencies rather than traditional players like American Express, our research found just the opposite to be the case, ” said Bob Harrell, founder and principal of Harrell Associates.  “The results of our survey have proved that not only does working with a travel management company like American Express save corporations money through pre-negotiated fares, but on individual fares, American Express is the lowest cost provider serving Corporate America.” 


Underscoring business travelers’ increasing acceptance of online booking tools, another survey by American Express released today found that a majority of business travelers actually prefer booking travel online versus using the telephone.  53% of those surveyed said they preferred booking online, versus just 30% who prefer the phone.  And, in a separate survey of corporate travel managers, American Express found that Europe is viewed as the next hot area for online booking adoption, selected by over 40% of corporate travel managers.  Latin America was identified as the next largest opportunity for online booking by 28% of travel managers polled.  The surveys also found that over 70% of travelers would recommend using an online booking tool to their colleagues. 

American Express’ business traveler research indicated that online booking tools are becoming more traveler-friendly.  The survey found that 92% of respondents felt their online tool was easy to learn to use, and 86% felt it was effective in helping them book low airfares. 

The results of the business traveler study are based on a survey of over 1300 business travelers from companies of all sizes on their attitudes toward online booking, conducted by Advanis, an independent market research company.  American Express separately conducted a survey of over 60 corporate travel managers to ascertain their views toward interactive travel. 


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