Ultramar and GetThere Demonstrate Right Balance of Online Travel Management And Offline Agency Services

Industry Experts Discuss Managed Travel Trends for Professional Services

Companies at the 2004 Ultramar Travel Technology Conference

NEW YORK and SOUTHLAKE, Texas, Feb. 3 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Today at the 2004 Ultramar Travel Technology Conference hosted by Ultramar Travel Management, a leading provider of customized travel management solutions for professional services companies, representatives of GetThere, the leading Web- based corporate travel reservation system from the people at Sabre Travel Network, discussed the importance and challenges of striking the right balance between online and offline travel management services. Industry experts from JetBlue Airways, InterContinental Hotels Group, and travel managers from two of the top ten law firms in the country also participated in the discussions.

Travel management continues to evolve, and companies are constantly faced with difficult choices when managing travel suppliers and costs. One of the big challenges facing companies is determining the right mix of online technology and offline travel agency services. When making this decision, it’s critical that companies consider their unique business needs and how they plan to measure the success of their travel program.

Online booking technology can provide significant cost savings. In the GetThere 2003 Corporate Online Travel Benchmark Survey, companies reported 15% average airfare savings and 46% average agency fee savings for business trips booked online.

Peter Harrison, Ultramar Conference presenter and vice president of strategy for GetThere, discussed how online savings is only part of the picture. He pointed out that companies need to consider the types and levels of service their employees require to balance the value of their time and the costs to the company. Harrison also mentioned, since many travel managers wear multiple hats, companies should look at the right mix of technology and personal service to help maximize the value of their travel department.

“The key for corporate travel programs is to balance proven online advantages and cost savings with higher-touch offline agency services,” said Harrison. “While 80% online booking adoption is a typical goal for most large corporations, 50% online adoption may make sense for smaller professional services firms who need a customized and flexible solution from a business partner like Ultramar.”

Meeting the Needs of the Individual Business Traveler

Another trend discussed at the Ultramar Travel Management Conference, was the shift many companies are taking to focus on the individual traveler. Many companies are developing specialized online and offline services to ease the booking process and provide tools that meet all the individual needs of the business traveler, while continuing to address the needs of the travel manager and company goals.

“There has been a shift in the corporate travel industry with product development focused on meeting the needs of the individual traveler,” said Peter Klebanow, president of Ultramar. “Ultramar has developed specific functionality that supports travel manager needs while improving the overall experience for individual business travelers.”

Ultramar Tr@velSync offers a comprehensive solution for professional services companies that they have built on the leading GetThere online booking technology. Through Ultramar Tr@velSync, customers can customize a number of features to simplify the booking process for individual travelers and to assist travel managers with program management. A few of these features include true traveler profile synchronization, company-specific travel templates, integrated supplier contract analytics, extensive pre-trip reporting, integrated destination information and a variety of traveler security tracking and alert services. In addition, Amtrak online booking capability was recently added to Tr@velSync.

Other companies, including JetBlue Airways, also remain focused on the traveler experience. JetBlue Airways spoke about “The JetBlue Experience,” and how its model of providing a low cost alternative while still providing the key services business travelers demand, can be an important part of a corporate travel program. “Through Ultramar Tr@velSync, business travelers can access JetBlue fares,” said Eric Brinker, manager product and brand development, JetBlue Airways. “Travelers have access to our fares that are not available through most of the online travel agencies, including Orbitz and Expedia.”

For travelers arranging individual hotel rooms or planning corporate meetings, Ultramar Tr@velSync provides a wide range of options. Since many professional services companies are increasingly recognizing they can cut additional corporate travel costs by using meeting planning technology that is integrated with their online travel system, Ultramar offers the GetThere DirectMeetings solution, which helps companies work smarter with Ultramar to plan corporate meetings at lower costs.

InterContinental Hotels Group, who spoke at the Ultramar Conference, offered this view on the hotel booking experience. “We want to provide travelers with the best rates and best service, which is why we’ve partnered with Ultramar Travel Management,” said John Morris, director for BTA revenue programs at InterContinental Hotels Group. “Through Ultramar Tr@velSync, travelers have access to our unbeatable amenities and prices, in an easy to use environment — online or offline.”

About Ultramar

Ultramar is a privately held company with corporate headquarters located in the heart of New York’s business world for over 50 years. As a partner and Chairman of the Board of GlobalStar, it is strategically positioned for service throughout the world. Ultramar serves a client base of diverse cultures and requirements — clients include many of the countries largest and most prestigious law firms, corporations, investment banks and some of the leading names in high fashion. It attributes its business success to a commitment to innovation — not only in implementing and adapting technologies, but also in delivering completely customized travel programs to the particular needs of the active business traveler and those that manage them.

About GetThere

GetThere, a Sabre Travel Network brand, is the world’s leading Web-based corporate travel reservation technology. GetThere enables global corporations and government agencies to provide a convenient way for employees to book travel and plan meetings while significantly reducing costs. GetThere’s advanced technology works with all major global distribution systems (GDS) and all travel management companies. More than 1,000 corporations, including half the Fortune 200, use GetThere. More information is available at www.getthere.com .

Sabre Holdings Corporation (NYSE: TSG) is a world leader in travel commerce, retailing travel products and providing distribution and technology solutions for the travel industry. More information about Sabre Holdings is available at http://www.sabre-holdings.com .

SOURCE  GetThere
    -0-                             02/03/2004
    /CONTACT:  Michelle Sibbitt of GetThere, +1-415-932-1177, or
michelle.sibbitt@sabre.com ; or Peter Klebanow, President of Ultramar Travel
Management, +1-212-856-5600, or Peter.Klebanow@ultramartravel.com /
    /Web site:  http://www.getthere.com
                http://www.sabre-holdings.com /

CO:  GetThere; Sabre Holdings Corporation; Ultramar Travel Management; Sabre
     Travel Network; JetBlue Airways; InterContinental Hotels Group
ST:  Texas

-- DATU011 --
2987 02/03/2004 11:00 EST http://www.prnewswire.com