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Travel and Tourism News


Article Editor: Carly Zander

Leading Online Group Travel Web Site Launches 2nd Generation Technology

Company First to Fully-Automate Entire Group Travel Planning Process by Allowing Group Travel Coordinators to Book and Manage Everything Online

PIGEON FORGE, TN - June 15, 2004 /Send2Press Newswire/ -- For the past four years,® has been leading the way in online group travel planning by successfully enabling thousands of professional tour operators and group leaders to plan and book all aspects of their group trips online including chartering a motor coach, booking group hotel rooms, securing group attraction tickets, and more.

With the launch of its much-anticipated 2nd generation web technology, the company has taken online group travel planning to the next level by enabling these same group coordinators to now also manage their group bookings online -- all the way up until the time their group takes their trip.

"Anyone who has ever planned a trip for a group knows just how time-consuming it can be, not to mention what a huge amount of responsibility it carries," said Scott Harness, President and CEO,®.

"By fully automating the entire group travel planning process, we've helped to eliminate many of the hassles and concerns group coordinators are sometimes faced with by giving them the tools to not only book their group's entire trip online, but also to manage those bookings entirely online -- from making deposits and final payments to adding and dropping rooms to increasing and decreasing group counts -- everything is able to be managed online without ever making one phone call. No other web site in the world even comes close to providing this level of functionality online."

In addition to developing powerful technology for managing group-bookings online, the company has greatly improved its supplier extranet system. Now, for the first time, the company's 11,000-plus hotels, bus operators and other "group-friendly" suppliers have equally powerful tools at their finger tips to assist them with confirming bookings and viewing change requests, bid requests, automatic notifications, and more.

"We've really focused heavily on the supplier experience to ensure that they are kept in the loop throughout the entire process," Harness said. "It's almost like their group sales offices have gained a full-time sales coordinator -- one that never forgets deadlines like getting deposits, payments, rooming lists/final counts in on time, every time."

The company has also added other trip components to the ones offered since its start in March 2000. Group travel planners can now submit request for proposals for group air, rail and cruises and development is well underway for its new group packaging section.

"This is an exciting day not only for our company and its 35,000-plus members, but also for the group travel industry as a whole," said Harness. "Anyone who has ever taken the time to get to know us knows that we are truly passionate about this industry and that we feel very strongly about how technology can help to vastly improve it. While it will never fully replace the interaction that has existed for decades between suppliers and buyers, it can and will help change the entire industry for the better, especially as more and more people come to rely on the Internet. We re just glad to continue leading the way."

Plans to market the new site are ambitious. In addition to increasing its online marketing and ad placement in various industry publications, the company plans to continue aggressively developing alliances with targeted distribution channels including destination marketing organizations on state and local levels, as well as other sites with primary targeted group audiences.

logo (c)®, which recently became a subsidiary of Group Travel Planet, is celebrating its fourth year in business. Since its start, it has grown its membership base steadily and today it has over 11,000 supplier members, 9,200-plus of which are hotels located throughout North America -- hotels that use its extranet system to allocate group inventory and assign net group rates. In addition, the company has maintained an exclusive partnership with the American Bus Association for online bus chartering. At the end of 2003, the company realized gross sales of over $38 million with $19.1 coming from bus chartering and $12.2 coming from online hotel bookings.

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