SideStep, an online travel innovator, has today announced an alliance with Dollar Rent A Car, a subsidiary of Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, Inc..
The agreement will make Dollar`s inventory and Web site available to a wider audience, streamline sales costs and allow Dollar to develop closer, more valuable relationships with a broader range of online customers.
Winner of the Forbes “Best of the Web” award, SideStep has been recognized by both consumers and the press as the most comprehensive, easy-to-use source for the Web`s best travel deals. Dollar, which offers both affordable rates and excellent customer service, will provide SideStep customers with notable bargains at more than 400 worldwide locations. Working directly with SideStep, the rental car company will now be able to showcase its Internet specials and promotions to an expanded set of target customers.
To implement this alliance, SideStep and Dollar have used XML (Extensible Markup Language) and SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) to form highly efficient direct links between their backend systems. XML and SOAP are core elements of the Microsoft .NET strategy, and both SideStep and Dollar have been early adopters of these technologies. Using XML and SOAP to exchange information on issues such as the availability and price of a specific rental car makes communications between the two companies both concise and fast, maximizing ROI on the resulting sales.
“Our business relationship with SideStep provides us with a great opportunity to extend our reach on the Web,” said Charlie Coniglio, Dollar`s Staff Vice President of e-Commerce. “In addition to increasing our revenues, SideStep - by bringing travel buyers straight to dollar.com - will help us to trim distribution costs.” With reference to the underlying technology, Coniglio remarked, “SideStep`s facility with XML and SOAP enabled us to forge a direct connection and get to market quickly. Where others talk about the benefits of such direct connections, SideStep delivers.”
SideStep offers a rich selection of hotel rooms, flights and rental cars - including the largest selection of “Web-only” fares available online. The free service features more than 45,000 hotels, 585 different domestic and international carriers, and 2,800 rental car locations in its comprehensive offering. SideStep is the only online travel service that can dynamically translate search results into a user`s currency of choice, making it easier for people around the globe to comparison shop for travel. Once a selection is made, SideStep brings travel buyers directly to supplier sites to book their travel with brands they trust.
“We`re looking forward to showcasing Dollar`s combination of service and savings to SideStep users,” said Brian Barth, SideStep`s CEO. In discussing the implementation of the project, Barth noted, “Both SideStep and Dollar are firm believers in the value of direct connect solutions. As a .NET pioneer, Dollar`s experience with XML and SOAP enabled us to link our systems in record time. This project exemplifies the direction in which our industry is headed, and SideStep will continue to play a leadership role in driving the adoption of these key .NET technologies within the travel sector.”
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