LAS VEGAS-Galileo International, Inc. (NYSE: GLC - news), a leader in global travel technology, announced today the commercial, US launch of the only B-2-B-2-C travel Web portal, TravelGalileo.com, an online travel booking solution that combines the best of e-commerce with the professional service from a customer’s preferred travel consultant. TravelGalileo.com was presented as part of Galileo’s call to action for travel agents to ‘Get Ready!’ for the 21st century. Agents were invited to create their free, uniquely branded agency presence on the Web portal here at the 70th American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) World Travel Congress.
Galileo is committed to supporting small- to mid-sized travel agencies, according to Babetta Gray, executive vice president, Subscriber Sales and Service. ``Whether their traveler customers want to buy travel over the counter, over the phone, over the Web, or wirelessly, Galileo International- powered agencies have a full suite of tools to cost effectively and efficiently provide their unique travel services. Agencies can leverage their existing customer franchise now by extending their reach onto the Web with TravelGalileo.com. We are seeing more and more that agencies want to leverage technology, while maintaining their unique advantage—customer service. Effectively implementing this business proposition will be travel agencies’ 21st century criteria for success,’’ Gray said.
TravelGalileo.com will help travel agencies attract more of the $18 billion in online airline ticket sales expected by 2004.* According to Joshua Friedman, senior analyst for IDC’s Consumer eCommerce: Travel research, ``...these [airline-owned] start-ups will create good publicity for the online travel business. However, the traditional travel agency model, which includes Internet pure-plays and clicks-and-mortars, will better understand the needs of the traveler and will be unbiased and will therefore get more business.’’
Limited market tests were conducted with seven US large regional agencies during the first half of the year, which grew to beyond 30 agencies of all sizes testing the site prior to launch. During this development phase, the portal was known as Galileo.com.
TravelGalileo.com is designed to be an easy-to-implement additional point of presence on the Web for participating agencies, serving as a seamless extension to traditional agency ‘brick-and-mortar’ offices and business processes. Registering for the portal is as easy as contacting a Galileo International sales representative. Once registered, Galileo International will work with the agency to create a uniquely branded Web site and URL that travelers can access directly by typing the full URL or through the TravelGalileo.com homepage. Participating agencies can promote special packages on their unique sites, as well as promoting special offers they have negotiated with travel suppliers, incorporating PrivateFares(TM) and PrivateFares II(TM). In addition, participating agencies will receive promotional templates from Galileo International that can be uniquely branded by each agency and integrated into their marketing programs.