Travel today announced the launch of Expedia(R) Business Advantage after a
successful pilot program. Expedia(R) Business Advantage allows any
business traveler, at no membership cost, access to the inventory, rates,
features and travel agent support of Expedia(R) Corporate Travel, a
full-service travel management company operated by Expedia, Inc.
Expedia(R) Business Advantage is a practical, online solution for
individual travelers who are not part of a formal travel program, but
still need many of the same business travel deals, features, conveniences
and services that are a standard component of Expedia(R) Corporate Travel.
Members of Expedia(R) Business Advantage can easily access Expedia(R)
Corporate Travel’s business-friendly rates, inventory, special offers,
amenities and corporate agent support. These small businesses travel deals
are well-suited for travelers and companies that do not require the
account consulting services, reporting and compliance tools that are used
by large businesses with traditionally managed corporate travel programs.
Analyst firm PhoCusWright reports that the market for unmanaged business
travel became the fastest growing segment of corporate travel in 2003, and
accounted for $27 billion online and offline gross bookings in 2004.
Unmanaged business travelers are individuals who are not part of a travel
policy that provides guidelines for finding and booking travel. Expedia(R)
Business Advantage addresses this under-serviced market by supplying
members with the special features and services that can be found in
standard corporate travel programs.
Expedia(R) Business Advantage offers unmanaged business travelers a wide
assortment of competitive rates on inventory from Expedia(R) Corporate
Travel. This includes Expedia(R) Corporate Rate hotels, which can include
offerings such as free breakfasts and rewards for multiple stays at select
properties. Expedia(R) Special Rate hotels are also available on the
Expedia(R) Business Advantage site, which provides rich, visual displays
and customized information on each hotel so members can easily view a
selected property and room before booking.
Travelers who use Expedia(R) Business Advantage and take advantage of the
small business travel deals can also change or upgrade their airline seat
while online, receive automatic notifications if they can redeem or
exchange unused carrier tickets, and sign up for Expedia(R) Corporate
Travel’s weekly newsletter designed specifically for business travelers.
Expedia(R) Business Advantage is also ideal for independent organizations
as a preferred method of travel for their members and an efficient way to
reduce travel costs. One group already using the site is the National
Association for Female Executives (NAFE). “Our organization represents
thousands of elite businesswomen who constantly look for real value in
their professional activities and decisions, including business travel,”
said Dr. Betty Spence, president of NAFE. “Expedia Business Advantage
understands this need and is a great way for NAFE members to save money
with a familiar online travel solution, while still getting the
competitive prices, business friendly perks and live agent support of a
full-service agency.” With more than 60,000 active members, NAFE is the
largest women’s professional association and the largest women business
owners’ organization in the country.
“After launching Expedia Corporate Travel as a full-service,
cost-effective solution for larger companies to formally manage travel and
expense programs, there remained a portion of the business travel
community that still demanded many of our rates, features and amenities
that they could not access,” said Matt Hulett, president of Expedia(R)
Corporate Travel. “We developed Expedia Business Advantage in response to
this unmet demand and as the ideal program for giving unmanaged travelers
quick and easy access to a broad array of Expedia Corporate Travel’s
trusted features, services, inventory and around-the-clock, experienced
corporate travel agents.”