Hotel Online  Special Report

 Harris Interactive Survey Claims 49% of Travelers
Believe Online Travel Sites Offer Lower Hotel
Rates Rather than Calling Hotels Directly
or Using Hotel Websites


CHICAGO, August 25, 2004 - Orbitz (Nasdaq: ORBZ), today announced the results of a national survey of travelers with internet access that reveals the majority (91%) want to comparison shop multiple hotel brands when booking a hotel.  According to the Orbitz Hotel Survey, conducted online by Harris Interactive(R), nearly half of consumers (49%) believe web sites like Orbitz offer the lowest hotel rates more than calling hotels directly (25%) or using hotel websites (22%) do.

Amid industry discussion on where consumers find the best hotel deals, with online agencies or through hotels directly, the survey found that over the next 12 months, more online travelers (43%) anticipate using third-party sites like Orbitz most frequently for hotel reservations than calling a hotel directly (40%) or using hotel websites (35%). 

"More than half of all hotels booked online are booked by a third-party agency such as Orbitz," according to a 2004 study by PhoCusWright.  The study also confirmed, "Third-party sites offer compelling deals and shopping options and will continue to represent the greater share of hotel Internet bookings."

Low prices aren't the only reason consumers turn to sites like Orbitz when booking hotel rooms.  Besides price, the majority (65%) of travelers look for the ability to search for hotels near a specific address, and another 33 percent value the ability to search for hotels by specific amenities such as a pool or fitness center - features that are both available on Orbitz. 

"This study confirms that the vast majority of travelers want to shop multiple hotel brands when booking a hotel," said Kurt Weinsheimer, vice president of Hotels at Orbitz.  "At Orbitz, travelers get a one-stop shop for hotels, and our unique Matrix display makes it easy to compare different brands and properties by location, price and quality.  Plus, our OrbitzSaver rate guarantee means travelers have access to the lowest prices available online." 

The Harris Interactive(R) survey also validates that online travelers do not want to call hotels directly to haggle over rates.  Among those surveyed, 

  • nearly one-third (27%) said that they would avoid calling a hotel directly to request a lower rate because there was no guarantee the rate would be lower than what they already found online; 
  • 21 percent indicated that they wouldn't call a hotel directly because they were uncomfortable negotiating by phone; 
  • another 17 percent said they don't have the time to make such a call; 
  • and 8 percent said they don't want to spend the money on calling a hotel directly.

Harris Interactive(R) fielded the survey from August 5-9, 2004, via its QuickQuery(SM) online omnibus service, interviewing a nationwide sample of 2,464 U.S. adults (aged 18+), of whom 1,662 have stayed in a hotel/made a hotel reservation or booked a vacation package that included a hotel stay within the past year.  Data were weighted to reflect the total U.S. online adult population on the basis of region, age within gender, education, household income, race/ethnicity, and amount of time spent online. In theory, with a probability sample of this size, one can say with 95 percent certainty that the results have a statistical precision of plus or minus 3 percentage points for the overall sample. Statistical precision for the smaller sample results is plus or minus 4 percentage points of what they would be if the entire population of adults with online access who have stayed in a hotel/made a hotel reservation or booked a vacation package that included a hotel stay within the past year had been polled with complete accuracy.  This online sample was not a probability sample.

Harris Interactive ( is a worldwide market research and consulting firm best known for The Harris Poll(R), and for pioneering the Internet method to conduct scientifically accurate market research. Headquartered in Rochester, New York, Harris Interactive combines proprietary methodologies and technology with expertise in predictive, custom and strategic research. 

Orbitz is a leading online travel company that enables travelers to search for and purchase a broad array of travel products, including airline tickets, lodging, rental cars, cruises and vacation packages.  Since launching its website to the general public in June 2001, Orbitz has become the third largest online travel site based on gross travel bookings. 

Statements in this press release regarding Orbitz that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements and are subject to risks, assumptions and uncertainties that could cause such statements to differ materially from actual future events or results.



Kendra Thornton

Also See: Growing Number of Companies Drop Travel Agencies, Switching to Consumer Travel Web Sites / Aug 2004
Poll Shows Hotel Company Operated Web Sites Have Room to Improve / May 2004
Third Party Websites Deliver Potential Trouble for Hotels; You Get What You Pay For / May 2004
After Much Controversy, the Internet Travel Site Orbitz is Launched / June 2001

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