BELLEVUE, Wash - Expedia.com®, an award-winning online travel agency, today announced the Business Tools section, an updated business travel center that provides services customized for the particular booking needs of independent business travelers and small and medium-sized businesses.
The new features available in Business Tools target the particular travel habits of business travelers, such as last minute trips, frequent flights to the same cities and third-party travel arranging.
For example, Expedia®‘s new Travel Arranger feature addresses a common business travel problem that affects many businesses with a central person planning trips for several co-workers. Those individual planners must either use their own accounts to book tickets for others or obtain their co-workers’ passwords and log into each one’s account. The Travel Arranger feature simplifies that process so that the central planner booking the trip can, with the traveler’s permission, purchase travel within the account of the individual who is actually taking the trip, without having to secure a password. The traveler still retains control over the account and can access personal itineraries and make changes at anytime. Purchases can only be completed with the last four digits of the traveler’s credit card number.
“Business travelers already account for about 30 percent of our customer base, so offering new services adds value for our existing business customers and expands Expedia’s benefits for other small and medium-sized businesses,” said John Pollard, director of business and mobile services at Expedia, Inc. “Because many businesses do not have dedicated travel planners, they turn to Expedia to meet their travel needs. We designed our new Business Tools section based on feedback from these business travelers to better accommodate their requirements.”
Other features available in the Business Tools section include the ability for travelers to book the same flight, hotel and rental car from a previous trip through Repeat a Trip, and to synchronize itineraries directly to the personal calendars on their desktop or laptop computers. These new features build on services previously available for business travelers on Expedia, including MileageMiner, a service for managing various frequent flyer programs in one location, and Expedia To Go(TM) mobile services.
The following features are new to Expedia.com’s business travel services:
* Business Tools Section and Search - The Business Tools section is accessible with a tab found throughout the entire site. The Business Express search extends Expedia’s Express Search functionality with core business requests, such as direct, one-way, roundtrip and multi-stop flights, business and first class tickets, and non-restricted tickets.
* Travel Arranger - Travelers can now delegate shopping for a flight, hotel and rental car on their personal accounts to co-workers or friends, while still maintaining control over their booking information and the ability to access their trip itineraries.
* Repeat a Trip - Frequent travelers can quickly book the same flight, hotel and rental car from a previous trip by turning itineraries into a template for future travel. They can also forward itineraries, whether reserved or not, to friends interested in booking a similar trip.
* Save to Calendar - Travelers can download their Expedia.com itineraries directly to their personal calendars (Microsoft Outlook or Lotus Notes).
* Printable receipt for e-tickets - Expedia.com enables business travelers to print receipts in case employers require paper receipts for expense reports.
* Real-time information on PDAs - Wireless PDA users with a PocketPC, a Palm III or higher handheld, or a Windows CE device can obtain flight status and flight timetables in real time, an extension of previously available Expedia To Go mobile services.
“The new Business Tools section represents a move on Expedia’s part to offer targeted travel products molded to the needs of an important travel segment - business travelers,” Pollard added. “Expedia.com has always been about serving all types of travelers, and these new features simply add business travel conveniences to Expedia’s strong track record of providing a comprehensive set of leisure travel services.”