has announced that it has reached profitability after 17 months.
Since its launch in November 2000, SideStep has grown to become the 6th most popular online travel retailer in the workplace and the 7th among home users. More than 1.8 million people have downloaded SideStep`s award-winning travel search tool. The company has been cash flow positive since February and is generating annualized gross bookings in excess of USD 200 million.
“Travelocity took five years to hit profitability,” said Brian Barth, SideStep`s CEO, “Priceline took three. SideStep hit this critical milestone in only 17 months.” Barth continued, “Our ability to reach this point so quickly is a testament SideStep`s core strengths. We`ve built a strong network of partners and provide them with excellent opportunities to drive sales through their own Web sites, shift market share in their favor, and reduce distribution costs. And we deliver a compelling value proposition to travel buyers, searching from among hundreds of sites in seconds to present our customers with the Web`s best travel deals. With major growth opportunities available not only in our core business, but also in international markets, corporate travel, and other new areas, this company is only beginning to realize its potential value.”
Ben Baldanza, US Airways` senior vice president of marketing and planning, noted, “SideStep continues to drive sales to usairways.com, our lowest cost sales channel. SideStep`s core concepts makes great sense - it`s no surprise to us that they hit profitability so soon.”
Chris Vukelich, General Manager of Global Distribution at British Airways, said, “SideStep`s persistent desktop presence ensures that its users always see our flight choices when making their purchasing decisions. SideStep is making millions of American travelers aware of the competitively priced fares available at BritishAirways.com, helping us to forge relationships with customers we may never otherwise have acquired.”
Tim Claydon, Vice President, Sales and Distribution for JetBlue Airways, has called SideStep “one of the most innovative players in online travel.” Claydon explains, “SideStep has made savvy use of technology to offer a whole new way of marketing to customers, as well as to redefine how travel providers connect with travel buyers to make their purchases. At JetBlue, we respect companies that challenge the status quo. SideStep has done just that.”
Jim Young, Vice President of Global Distribution for Six Continents Hotels, has equal praise for SideStep. “SideStep has brought a new dynamism to the online travel market,” Young said. “In forging direct connections between travel buyers and travel providers, SideStep has succeeded where many other have failed. It is by providing solutions to long-standing industry problems that SideStep has gained such a following among the sector`s savviest players.”
In addition to marketing its own version of its innovative travel search service, SideStep is working with a growing number of companies to provide them with customized, co-branded editions of the product. These specially tailored editions of SideStep bring advantage to SideStep`s marketing partners as SideStep searches head-to-head against popular travel sites, steering transactions as partners desire.
According to research firm comScore Networks, consumers spent almost USD7 billion at domestic online travel sites in Q1 2002. This represents an increase of 87% versus the same period in 2001 and 39% above Q4 2001. The largest single e-commerce category, online travel accounted for 41% of total consumer e-commerce sales in Q1 2002.