NEW YORK (, July 29, 1996) — American Express and Microsoft Corporation today announced a new alliance to provide a comprehensive on-line corporate travel booking service that allows business travelers to make reservations from their personal computer.
This alliance, combining the expertise of industry leaders in travel and technology, will dramatically change the way companies manage the business travel process by bringing a new dimension to corporate Internet/Intranet applications. The product will provide a convenient, efficient and secure method of making travel reservations and bookings on-line, while offering companies greater savings and control.
American Express and Microsoft have already begun developing, and will soon begin testing, the corporate on-line travel product with full roll-out expected in the first half of 1997. Driven by the Microsoft Travel Technologies platform, the electronic booking application will be an intuitive, user-friendly solution offering travelers convenient access to on-line reservations, destination information, negotiated discounts and travel advice. All transactions will be backed by American Express’ world-wide customer service.
The on-line booking system will enable corporate travelers to reserve and purchase travel from their PCs and laptops. The system also will allow companies to capture travel data critical to expense management. In addition, corporations can include their negotiated fares and rates, as well as travel policy guidelines, into the system, making sure their employees take advantage of available discounts. Corporate America spends approximately $145 billion annually on travel-
related expenses. This product will enable companies to better manage their total travel costs, typically a company’s third-largest controllable expense.
“This agreement with Microsoft represents an important step forward in launching the next generation of travel services,”
said Harvey Golub, chairman and CEO, American Express Company.
“In the past few years, American Express has significantly expanded its global travel network. Our goal is to save travelers time and corporations money, and we see this alliance as a new opportunity to deliver on this objective using cutting-edge technology.”
Under the terms of the contract, American Express will have a two year exclusive license to the jointly developed corporate product.
“This agreement with American Express represents an exciting opportunity for corporations to apply Microsoft’s intranet technologies to the challenge of managing corporate travel,”
said Bill Gates, CEO, Microsoft.
“Giving PC users real-time access to constantly changing information, in a marketplace like travel, delivers on the promise of the Internet. Combining Microsoft’s technology leadership with American Express’ tradition of service excellence will make purchasing travel easier and more cost effective.”
The Microsoft Travel Technologies platform includes both the back-office server and the end-user application for making complete air, hotel and car rental reservations on-line. It will be compatible with Microsoft Office and link to American Express’ Expense Manager, an automated PC expense reporting system. Microsoft Travel Technologies is designed with the Microsoft BackOffice family of products including Windows NT®
Server, Internet Information Server and SQL Server. The interactive travel product can operate within the Internet, intranets and client-server environments.
In addition to linking with American Express’ Expense Manager, the on-line system will fit into American Express’ full suite of automated corporate travel solutions. Over the past few years, American Express has introduced a number of Windows®
-based products: PDQ Power for pre-trip identification of savings opportunities; CardPower and TripPower for fully customized management reporting; Travel Policy Expert for drafting and revising policies; and T & E Mail for e-mail-based trip reservations.
Product development will be led by Greg Slyngstad, product unit manager, Microsoft Travel Products, and Mike Mulligan, senior vice president and general manager, American Express Interactive Travel Group.
Leisure Travel Applications
Microsoft Travel Technologies also will drive the on-line leisure travel booking systems for American Express and Microsoft. The American Express Travel Web site (http://www.americanexpress.com/travel) , launched in March 1996, and the Microsoft Expedia travel service, scheduled to launch this fall, are Internet-based booking systems enabling leisure travelers to make airline, car and hotel bookings on-line and browse destination information. The sites will employ encryption technology Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption and Private Communication Technology (PCT) authentication to ensure secure credit card transactions.
Expedia, which represents Microsoft’s entrance into the on-line leisure travel booking arena, will be available on the World Wide Web (WWW) at MSN, The Microsoft Network’s Internet site. Both the Microsoft and American Express Web Sites can be accessed free of charge.
On-line travel purchases are growing rapidly, according to a CIC Research, Inc. survey about on-line shopping. The survey shows that today there are between 7.2 and 10.8 million pleasure travelers on the WWW. This represents potential spending power of more than $10 billion on travel.
American Express operates the largest travel agency network in the world, recording over $15.1 billion in worldwide travel sales in 1995. Through its Corporate Services division, the company counts 72 percent of the Fortune 500 as customers of its business travel and/or Corporate Card programs. American Express Company is a diversified worldwide travel and financial services company founded in 1850. It is a leader in charge and credit cards, Travelers Cheques, travel, financial planning, investment products, insurance and international banking. American Express’ home page is (http://www.americanexpress.com/)
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing everyday.
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* Microsoft, BackOffice, Windows NT, Windows, MSN and Expedia are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries.