From its beginnings in 2001 as an airline-flight search engine launched by a consortium of major US airlines, Orbitz has grown into a full-service online travel agency linked to hundreds of airlines, more than 80,000 hotels and 13 rental car brands all over the globe. Its search engine targets the lowest prices on airfares, hotel rooms, rental cars, cruise-ship cabins and travel packages for designated destinations. It can connect customers to tickets for theme parks, sports events, theater performances, guided tours and other events. It offers regular featured deals, targeted sales and special cruise rates.
Orbitz's search technology allows consumers to narrow searches using criteria such as availability, rates and personal preferences. Consumers can purchase airfare, accommodations and rent cars at the same time as a possible way to cut costs. Orbitz often offers reduced rates for booking vacation packages. Travelers can search rates for preferred dates and times of travel or browse surrounding dates if travel time is flexible. Hotels are given full descriptions with maps, photos, room and location details, and user-generated star rankings. A "low price guarantee" is included in the selection of hotel rates. Orbitz also offers trip-planning advice and travel news updates. Budget travelers take note: Orbitz does not include rates from discount airlines like JetBlue and Southwest.
Other Major Services
Specialists are available to assist travelers with comprehensive vacation package bookings at certain times in select markets. Orbitz says it is "dedicated to promoting and supporting sustainable tourism efforts," and parent company Orbitz Worldwide has launched Eco.orbitz.com to provide customers with eco-friendly travel options. Orbitz can help travelers identify beach getaways with its MyIdealBeach.com tool, which searches more than 450 of Orbitz's top-rated beachfront properties in the United States, Caribbean, Mexico and South America.
A Few Competitors
- Expedia.com is one of the leading full-service online travel agencies where customers can earn ThankYou Network travel points they can cash in for travel during blackout dates, or for gift cards, electronics and appliances.
- Travelocity.com is another leading full-service online travel agency with daily and weekly specials; travel packages; and a tool, FareWatcher Plus, that tracks flight, hotel and trip rates.
What Makes Orbitz Noteworthy
The site says it prides itself on developing good customer relations. One way is by sending out automated Orbiz TLC Alerts - what it calls "real-time travel intelligence." This information, which can be sent to consumers' cell phones, PDAs or other devices, provides travel alerts such as time or gate changes and cancellations, and offers online reminders of trip preparations.
A Brief History
Orbitz was launched in 2001 by five major airlines - American, Continental, Delta, Northwest and United - to compete with burgeoning online travel booking sites and provide consumers with a comprehensive range of airfares and a flight booking engine in one location.
Orbitz is a brand of Orbitz Worldwide, 48% of which is owned by Travelport, a travel services information provider. Orbitz Worldwide owns and operates a global portfolio of consumer travel brands that includes CheapTickets, ebookers, HotelClub, and RatesToGo. It's located at 500 W. Madison Ave., Chicago, Illinois 60661.