Expedia, Inc. (Nasdaq: EXPE), a leading online travel service, and WORLDSPAN, which operates a leading computer reservation system (CRS) as part of its travel technologies, today confirmed the upcoming release of new jointly developed airfare pricing technology. The companies announced that the first phase of implementation would include new features geared to the needs of small business and leisure travelers using Expedia.com? (http://expedia.com/) to plan and purchase air travel.
Over the next 18 months, Expedia, Inc. and WORLDSPAN will use this new evolution of existing CRS pricing technology, currently code-named “Best Fare Search” or “BFS,” to phase in the most comprehensive and consumer-friendly airfare searching tools on the Internet. The BFS system executes complex pricing queries using proprietary software running on the Microsoft® Windows NT® platform. The system will be fully scaleable to better accommodate massive transaction volumes.
“Expedia’s rollout of this technology will serve as a proof of concept of this new platform for WORLDSPAN,” said Paul Blackney, president and CEO of WORLDSPAN, Inc. “This technology enables WORLDSPAN to continue its leadership in evolving its platforms. It provides us an opportunity over time to migrate our systems to a lower cost and friendlier development platform, while at the same time addressing the volume, reliability, and performance standards demanded in today’s e-commerce environment.”
Consumers using Expedia.com will see an increasingly dramatic improvement in their ability to search for and compare the widest possible variety of fare and schedule options through a simple series of Web pages. Where currently customers see only a short list of suggested low-priced itineraries, Best Fare Search technology will allow leisure and small business customers more direct access to a full range of options. This will save them valuable planning time and provide reassurance that Expedia provides all the information a traveler needs to find the right trip at the right price.
“This will dramatically improve the way Expedia.com customers shop for airfares,” said Richard Barton, president and CEO of Expedia, Inc. “We are excited to be working with WORLDSPAN to develop the next generation of CRS services, and we are very pleased that we will shortly begin to demonstrate the power inherent in developing new pricing technology on new platforms.”
WORLDSPAN provides global communications, electronic distribution of travel information and services, leading-edge Internet products and connectivity, and electronic commerce capabilities for travel agencies and travel service providers worldwide. The company’s three lines of business include global distribution systems, airline mainframe hosting services, and e-commerce for the U.S. and international travel industries. WORLDSPAN is the market leader in e-commerce for the travel industry, processing more than 50 percent of all online agency travel bookings.
The WORLDSPAN reservations system supplies availability, fare and rate information for more than 455 airlines, 200 hotel companies (representing approximately 40,000 properties), 44 car rental companies (representing approximately 17,275 locations), 27 tour operators and 49 special travel service suppliers. WORLDSPAN is owned by affiliates of Delta Air Lines, Northwest Airlines, and Trans World Airlines. Additional information is available at www.worldspan.com.
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