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Travelocity.The first real online travel agency and successor to EAAsySabre’s was Travelocity (Gunther et al., 2012). It was started in 1996 as a joint venture between Sabre and Worldview Systems Corp, with Sabre providing the GDS capability and Worldview providing the travel-related content. A year later in 1997, Sabre bought-out Worldview’s interest and soon added more content to Travelocity including hotel reservations, car rentals and vacation packages. In 1999, Travelocity merged with Preview Travel and the new company was called Travelocity.com, Inc. (Craft & Quick, 2002). Travelocity was initially a publically traded company with Sabre owning 70% of the company, but in 2002 Sabre purchased the remaining 30% of shares and Travelocity became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sabre. Like Sabre, Travelocity got the early lead in the OTA business growing steadily in its first two years and remaining the OTA leader until 2001 (Granados et al., 2008). Its website allows passengers to research information about destinations and make their own bookings. After the passenger enters their travel needs, Travelocity shows available flights including time and price search options. They even offer special deals available thru Travelocity only (“Travel agents access,” 2002). In 2013 Travelocity sold off its business arm, known as TBiz, to travel management company BCD Travel. Expedia.Expedia is an online travel booking site catering to both leisure and business travelers. Expedia began in 1996, when a small division within Microsoft launched Expedia.com to give consumers a revolutionary new way to research and book travel. In 1999, Expedia Inc. spun-off into their own company. By 2001, Expedia took over Travelocity’s number one online travel agency position. In 2003 the IAC (InterActiveCorp) acquired Expedia then later in 2005 spun it off forming Expedia Inc. Expedia primarily utilizes Sabre GDS and, to a lesser extent, Amadeus and Travelport GDSs (“Expedia Inc. 10K Report,” 2012). Expedia Inc. also operates Hotwire, TripAdvisor, Hotels.com and Egencia which is their corporate booking tool. In 2012, Expedia derived most of its revenue (74%) from transactions involving the sale of hotel rooms, compared to only 8% of revenue from airline tickets. They “believe that the hotel product is the most profitable of the products [they] distribute and represents [their] best overall growth opportunity (“Expedia Inc. 10K Report,” 2012, p. 48).
Distribution 239 Orbitz.In 2000, at a cost of about $100 million, five major U. S. airlines (United, Delta, Continental, Northwest, and later American) teamed up to start Orbitz. Initially, Orbitz used Worldspan GDS for flight information and booking, but their goal was to create a new technology that could book tickets by direct access to the airlines’ internal reservation systems. “Supplier Link,” as Orbitz called it, was implemented in 2002 and can save participating airlines as much as $12-$16 per ticket in GDS fees.