Expedia.com and eGulliver Announce Strategic Relationship Bringing Complex Travel Planning Expertise to Expedia’s Global Travel Marketplace -
eGulliver’s Travel Specialists to Provide Expedia.com Customers With Personal Complex Travel Planning Services
ORLANDO, Fla., eTravelWorld, Sept. 22 / Expedia, Inc. (Nasdaq: EXPE - news) and eGulliver.com, Inc. today announced a strategic relationship that will give Expedia.com customers access to eGulliver’s network of 1,000 plus travel Specialists dedicated to complex travel planning. Customers will be able to link from Expedia.com to the eGulliver.com site to work with travel Specialists on trips ranging from a wine-tasting tour in France, to a romantic honeymoon in the Caribbean. As part of the relationship, Expedia.com® will take an equity position in eGulliver.
“Among our millions of monthly visitors, our research has shown that many of them are looking to create customized or more involved travel plans. eGulliver, with their network of travel Specialists, provides the perfect complement to Expedia’s travel planning and booking services,” said Richard Barton, president and CEO of Expedia, Inc. “Through this initiative, we continue to broaden and deepen the travel services we provide in the Expedia® Global Travel Marketplace. We’ll be helping our customers travel right even if they want a more involved trip.”
For example, if a customer wants to plan and book an Alaskan kayaking trip with a three-night stay at an ecolodge, they will be matched with travel Specialist Randa Szymanski who was born, raised and still resides in Alaska, and who has first-hand knowledge of Denali Park, Glacier Bay and lesser-known Alaskan treasures such as Growler Island.
“eGulliver Specialists are experienced, qualified travel professionals who provide the expertise consumers are looking for when booking complex travel,” said Deslie Webb, co-founder and CEO of eGulliver. “This partnership combines the broad customer reach of Expedia.com with eGulliver’s unique method of offering Specialists’ expertise in planning more complicated travel itineraries.”
How It Works
After linking to eGulliver from Expedia.com, the consumer creates an online profile outlining their trip requirements including date, destination, preferred activities and travel style.
Within seconds, eGulliver presents one or more profiles of travel Specialists whose experience matches the customer’s needs. The customer selects a Specialist with whom to work, and the trip requirements are forwarded to that individual along with one other to ensure a response within one business day. Once the consumer receives a response from one of the two Specialists, the customer confirms the relationship and the trip planning process continues. Simultaneously, eGulliver sets up a personal travel site for that consumer where they can organize and store pre-trip information, itineraries, post-trip comments and photos. There is no charge to consumers for the eGulliver service.
eGulliver Specialists are expert travel consultants who provide customers with a complete travel planning service. With a minimum of three years experience, eGulliver Specialists work with an industry-accredited travel agency and have personal expertise in a destination, activity and/or lifestyle group. Many also have certifications from tourism boards, industry associations and travel schools.
Customers will be able to access the eGulliver site from Expedia.com in early 2001 through a link on Expedia’s home page, as well as links throughout Expedia’s site. In addition, eGulliver will provide links to Expedia.com for air, car and lodging reservation services.
Headquartered in Atlanta, eGulliver was incorporated in September 1999, by former members of the Carlson Wagonlit Travel management team. With combined management, travel, technology and e-commerce experience, eGulliver’s management team has created a new travel distribution system that combines the best of the offline and online worlds. eGulliver launched to the travel community in June 2000 and to consumers in September 2000. Their web address is http://www.egulliver.com.
Expedia, Inc. operates Expedia.com, a leading online Web site in the United States with localized versions for travelers in Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom. To help customers travel right, Expedia.com provides the best combination of air, car and hotel booking, vacation package and cruise offers, destination information, and point-to-point mapping. Industry experts agree—Expedia’s quality and leadership was recognized through several awards, including PC Magazine’s Editors’ Choice, Yahoo! Internet Life’s ``Best Overall Travel Site,’’ Gomez Advisors’ ``Number One Travel Site for Summer 2000,’’ and PC World’s 2000 World Class Award for Best Travel Site.