Priceline Introduces One-Stop Travel Reservation Site
William Shatner and priceline.com are going where the pioneer Internet travel service has never gone before.
After months behind the scenes redesigning its computer systems, inventory processing and Web site, priceline.com will introduce what it believes is the most powerful one-stop travel reservation site on the Internet for airline tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars and packages. The relaunch is being heralded by a new multi-million-dollar TV ad campaign featuring priceline.com’s celebrity spokesman William Shatner.
“Online travel customers are shoppers by nature,” said priceline.com President and Chief Executive Officer Jeffery H. Boyd. “They want the ability to see and compare prices. And they want to save the maximum amount possible on their travel purchases. Our new priceline.com gives travelers the best of both worlds. They can choose from an extensive assortment of airline tickets, hotel rooms and rental cars at specially negotiated published prices. Or, for deeper savings, they can choose priceline.com’s famous Name Your Own Price option. Best of all, when travelers come to priceline.com, they know they’re going to find a broader global assortment of travel products, and those products will frequently be available to them at prices and savings they won’t find anywhere else.”
Priceline.com decided on pursuing a multi-product travel search engine after the Company introduced a retail airline tickets service in 2004. That product helped priceline.com increase its full-year gross travel booking 52% and made priceline.com the fastest growing of the “big 4” major online travel services (Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, Priceline) in 2004. (Gross travel bookings refers to the total value of all travel products purchased, including taxes and fees.)
The new priceline.com has several competitive advantages over the other major travel reservation services and search engines.
Priceline.com’s advantages include:
— Better prices. Travel suppliers view priceline.com’s opaque service as a valuable distribution channel for their products. Consequently, many work with priceline.com on a preferred-pricing or an exclusive participation basis. The bottom line – priceline.com’s Name Your Own Price(R) service has travel deals consumers won’t find anywhere else.
— More suppliers. Over 60,000 hotels, airlines and rental car companies worldwide sell through the priceline.com family of travel services. Priceline.com’s recent acquisition of Active Hotels gives customers access to more than 8,000 European hotels, the majority of which are independent properties, that don’t work with or connect directly to the other major travel services and search engines.
— A powerful private travel search engine. On command, travelers can type in their trip specifics for an airline ticket, hotel room, rental car or package and priceline.com will find and display published prices, itineraries and properties for priceline.com-participating travel suppliers. Published-price search results are shown in an easy-to-read grid format that makes comparison-shopping simple. If they wish, travelers can use a variety of filters to fine-tune their searches.
— Priceline.com’s trademark Name Your Own Price feature. Priceline.com is the only travel service on the Internet that lets customers trade travel or brand flexibility for the exact price that they want to pay for an airline ticket, hotel room or rental car. By being flexible, priceline.com hotel customers can save up to 40% or more over the published prices they see on other major travel reservation services. For rental cars, priceline.com customers typically save up to 25% over the published prices found on the other travel sites. And for airline tickets, the Name Your Own Price savings can be up to 40% depending on itinerary and time of purchase.
— Priceline.com’s Best-Price Guarantee. Priceline.com is so sure that customers will get the best prices on its hotels, rental cars, packages and cruises that the company offers a Best-Price Guarantee. For each product, if customers make a purchase and find a better available price online within a certain period of time, they can tell priceline.com and priceline.com will refund 100% of the difference.
To highlight the many benefits of its new service, priceline.com turned to longtime celebrity spokesman William Shatner for a new TV ad campaign titled, “Shop – Compare – Save.” In the spots, Mr. Shatner encounters consumers who are comparison-shopping for groceries, shoes, new cars and bedding. From them, he gets the “brainstorm” to turn priceline.com into a comparison-shopping travel service.
“Once again, William Shatner excels in educating and entertaining his audience,” said priceline.com Chief Marketing Officer Brett Keller. “After drawing them into the ad, he demonstrates why people should compare prices and save using priceline.com. Then he delivers the entertainment payoff with a little improvisational comedy to finish each spot.”
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