Breaking Travel News

Orbitz and Travelweb Settle Hotel Dispute

Orbitz and Travelweb
LLC today announced they have settled their dispute, agreeing that
Travelweb will remain the exclusive third-party provider of merchant hotel
inventory on Orbitz from leading hotel brands Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott,
InterContinental and Starwood hotels. The agreement ends the current
litigation between the two companies.
The agreement provides Orbitz with complete flexibility to market hotel
inventory in a manner that best meets consumers’ needs. It assures Orbitz
of an adequate supply of merchant inventory from the major brand-name
chains and gives the site flexibility to work directly with other chain
and independent hotels to continue the growth of the Orbitz Merchant Hotel
program. Orbitz agreed to display on its site the hotel inventory provided
by Travelweb founding hotel chains. Travelweb agrees to pay Orbitz higher
commissions in return for a minimum room night commitment. In addition,
Orbitz agreed to a one-time waiver of the right to terminate the contract
if Travelweb experiences a change in ownership. The agreement expires in
December 2005. Other terms were not disclosed.

“Our relationship with Travelweb has helped us grow our merchant hotel
business very quickly. This settlement allows us the flexibility we need
to continue our growth yet provides Travelweb with a continued revenue
stream from Orbitz,” said Jeff Katz, Orbitz president and chief executive
officer. “As demand for hotel inventory grows due to the strengthening
economy, we believe that this agreement and the access to the major
brands’ merchant inventory it provides will be important to our success.
This benefits customers because it enables Orbitz to continue displaying
attractive OrbitzSaver(TM) rates from a comprehensive selection of more
than 14,000 hotel properties. And it benefits independent and other chain
hotels that would like to work with Orbitz directly in merchandising their
properties to our fast-growing customer base.”

“We value our distribution relationship with Orbitz and are glad to see it
continue to the benefit of both companies,” said Jaynne Allison, chief
operating officer and general counsel for Travelweb LLC. “Travelweb’s
seamless distribution network provides leading Internet retailers, like
Orbitz, with access to great deals from the world’s leading hotel chains
in the top destinations worldwide. Orbitz’ popularity with consumers will
generate the booking volume that all of our participating hotels deserve.”