Award honors companies that have done the most to make travel easier and more affordable
CHICAGO, Oct. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Orbitz (www.orbitz.com), a pioneer in
online travel, has won a 2008 Extra Mile Award from Arthur Frommer's Budget
Travel Magazine for its innovative use of social media and mobile technology
to bring travelers vital up-to-minute travel information.
"Innovation has always been at the core of our business as we continue to
work to improve the travel experience for our customers," said Steve Barnhart,
CEO and president, Orbitz Worldwide. "We are honored to receive an Extra Mile
Award and be recognized as a leader in innovation."
This year, Budget Travel recognized Orbitz.com for OrbitzTLC(TM) Traveler
Update, launched in September 2007. Traveler Update combines up-to-the-minute
information from the Federal Aviation Administration, OrbitzTLC air traffic
alerts and data from the Transportation Security Administration with the
contributions and reports of everyday travelers to create a powerful new
information resource. Content includes real-time data and information on
security line wait times, traffic delays, parking updates, taxi lines, flight
delays, weather information and more.
Orbitz Worldwide Technology
While primarily a java shop, Orbitz Worldwide developed Traveler Update,
through collaboration within its marketing and technology teams using Ruby on
Rails, an open source web application framework for the Ruby programming
The idea for Traveler Update was incubated in late 2006 when Orbitz
employees developed a simple prototype using Ruby on Rails to demonstrate and
pitch the concept to Orbitz Worldwide management. The prototype stirred
excitement, leading to a partnership with Rails experts, with the goal of
developing the prototype further.
"Initially, Orbitz Worldwide planned to build Traveler Update on the
company's new global technology platform; however, it became clear developing
the project on our Java platform would put us past our desired launch date
given competing priorities, and we took a closer look at Rails," said Jack
Staehler, group vice president, technology, Orbitz Worldwide. "The formation
of our cross-functional development team that worked autonomously on the
project and built the application in less than four months is an example of
our company's focus on innovation and dedication to testing new technologies
that benefit our customers."
Traveler Update joins a growing list of innovative services launched by
Orbitz over the past year that all work to make the travel experience easier
for its customers.
-- Orbitz Price Assurance(SM), launched in June 2008, allows Orbitz
customers to book airfare and rest easy, knowing they are getting the best
price for their flight. With Price Assurance, if the price drops for a plane
ticket booked on Orbitz.com and another customer subsequently books the same
airline ticket on Orbitz.com for less, Orbitz will automatically send
travelers a cash refund for the difference.
-- Live Destination Specialists, introduced in March 2008, provide
travelers with the local expertise to help them make travel decisions about an
unfamiliar destination. Orbitz destination specialists are a select group of
customer service representatives with extensive local knowledge for select
vacation hotspots, including Hawaii, Las Vegas, Orlando, and Cancun.
-- MyIdealBeach.com, launched in April 2008, is an innovative new search
tool that helps beach-goers find the destination that's right for them. The
tool asks travelers questions about who is traveling, preferred vacation
activities, and desired hotel options to provide information that will help
determine the best choice for him/her. It then searches over 450 of Orbitz's
top beachfront hotels in the US, Caribbean, Mexico and South America that have
been handpicked and then ranked by Orbitz's team of Hotel Market Managers
based on these criteria.
"We're thrilled to acknowledge Orbitz as the first company to develop a
way for travelers to share valuable real-time updates while on the go-
whether from a computer, a web-enabled PDA, or by text message from a
--Budget Travel editors
Since 2005, Budget Travel Magazine's Extra Mile Awards have recognized
noteworthy innovations in travel that make travel easier, more enjoyable,
and/or more affordable across all aspects of the industry.
For more information about Orbitz, please visit www.orbitz.com.
About Orbitz Worldwide:
Orbitz Worldwide (NYSE: OWW) is a leading global online travel company
that uses innovative technology to enable leisure and business travelers to
research, plan and book a broad range of travel products. Orbitz Worldwide
owns and operates a portfolio of consumer brands that includes Orbitz
(http://www.orbitz.com), CheapTickets (http://www.cheaptickets.com), ebookers
(http://www.ebookers.com), HotelClub (http://www.hotelclub.com), RatesToGo
(http://www.ratestogo.com), the Away Network (http://www.away.com) and
corporate travel brand Orbitz for Business (http://www.orbitzforbusiness.com).
For more information on how your company can partner with Orbitz Worldwide,