AOL Teams Up with Major Partners for Business Travel Center

In an attempt to grab an even bigger share of a rapidly growing market, America Online (NYSE: AOL) has teamed up with four new major partners to streamline business travel. Today, America Online announced the launch of its business travel center and agreements totaling more than $20 million (US$) with American Airlines (NYSE: AMR), Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAIB), Avis (NYSE: AVI) and Hertz (NYSE: HRZ).

The new travel center aims to help business travelers simplify their busy schedules by offering a one-stop shop for travel information and services.

“With today’s business travelers leading increasingly hectic lives, busy people want access to brand names they know and trust — names like American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Avis and Hertz,” said Jonathan Sacks, senior vice president and general manager at AOL. “But busy consumers also demand convenience.”

Wide Range of Services

AOL delivers convenience by offering a variety of services in its new business travel center. The center will offer full-service travel options and solutions delivered by Preview Travel (Nasdaq: PTVL), TheTrip.com and Vicinity.

Services include Preview Travel’s trip express, which allows customers to book airfare, car rentals and hotel rooms through one interactive feature. AOL users also are able to access interactive street-level maps and driving directions from Vicinity. They can also use TheTrip.com to check the status of any flight in the United States, and automatically send e-mails when their flight has arrived.

About AOL’s Travel Channel

The new business travel center is available at Keyword: Business Travel for AOL users. All of these services are now part of AOL’s travel channel, which is the most-visited online travel destination, according to Media Metrix.

The travel channel also offers destination guides that feature content from Fodor’s travel guides. Other services include a comprehensive selection of travel bargains available at both online and brick-and-mortar travel agents, and cruise news and reviews.

A Hot Market for E-Commerce

Online travel services is a fast-growing sector that Jupiter Communications forecasts will reach $10 billion (US$) in sales by 2002.

According to the 1998 AOL/Roper Starch Cyberstudy, 91% of regular or occasional Internet users said booking travel online is easier than using a traditional travel agent.

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