Pan-European online travel agent ebookers has re-launched its U.K. website offering customers greater functionality and a better user experience.

ebookers is a brand of Orbitz Worldwide, Inc. that operates in 13 countries across Europe and Scandinavia, including the brand Mr. Jet in Denmark and Sweden.

The new website aims to make booking decisions easier through simpler navigation and more product choice. As an example, ebookers has tripled the number of hotels available within its inventory. Authentic hotel user reviews from thousands of properties and additional information about traveller destinations, including more hotel photos and maps also have been added. Built on a new global technology platform, ebookers will offer customers greater speed in searching and booking.

"This is an important moment in the evolution of the ebookers brand, as we work to make it the leading travel choice for our customers in Europe," said Steve Barnhart, President and CEO of Orbitz Worldwide, Inc. "This new, innovative ebookers website will provide customers with more air and hotel choices and a better, faster online experience."

Major Technology Accomplishment for Orbitz Worldwide

The ebookers site in the United Kingdom is the first Orbitz Worldwide brand to be migrated over to the company's new global technology platform. The platform is one of several key strategic initiatives for Orbitz Worldwide's growth in international markets. The new technology is built to operate multiple consumer brands more efficiently, including multi-language and multi-currency capabilities. The platform is also designed to enable the more rapid deployment of customer-centric technologies and services across all of Orbitz Worldwide's international brands, including the ability to offer suppliers a global customer base.

"This new technology will help us enhance the global travel experience and grow in international markets to the benefit of ebookers' customers," added Barnhart.

Additional ebookers.com functionality now includes:

- Improved site navigation to help make booking decisions easier. For example, customers can now sort by hotel name and address, price and proximity to a landmark.

- Wider range of travel products, including over three times the number of hotels available.

- A world class dynamic packaging tool that enables customised packaged bookings to: More destinations for customers who book customised and packaged flight & hotel holidays; Destinations enabling customers to book all travel elements together (e.g., flight & hotel & car) adding another layer of convenience; Locales with guaranteed savings when you book customised holiday packages

- Improved features and promotional pages guiding customers to great offers and deals, helping them find the trip they want for less!

- Thousands of authentic hotel reviews, from other Orbitz Worldwide customers who have actually stayed at the property, supporting ebookers customers researching hotel options.

- Smart bookers' section where customers can access traveller reviews, insider tips and trade secrets from ebookers expert staff, customers and journalists providing impartial advice on popular destinations.

- "My Trips" and "My Accounts" sections that allow customers to view current and previous trips, save their payment information, delivery and travel preferences, including the ability to send itinerary alerts to up to 4 contacts, friends, family members or business associates.

- Multi-city flight search enabling customers to book more complex flight itineraries, including up to 4 flights segments, which can arrive and depart from different airports. For example, ebookers customers can now book a flight that departs from London and flies into Amsterdam and schedule a return flight, departing from Paris back to London on the same itinerary.

- An improved ebookers customer service experience through new caller recognition technology. Customers who call ebookers' call centres more than once will not have to repeat their trip information as the system will recognise them through details from previous bookings or their member profile, and populate their pertinent information on the agent's screen.

"41% of Europeans are currently researching and buying travel online. We believe these leisure travellers are focused on efficient, value-orientated websites, which offer a wide range of choice," said Alan Josephs, Managing Director for ebookers. "ebookers listened to what our customers wanted and we delivered a new website that meets the needs and expectations of today's savvy traveller. Customers rated price and ease-of-use high on their wish lists. To meet these demands, ebookers invested in a more modern and innovative website that has the functionality to increasingly provide more relevant content about destinations, greater travel choice through more hotel and flight inventory, improved backend technology and destination advice."

New Brand Campaign

To re-introduce the new ebookers website to its European customers, the company is planning to re-launch its brand through a comprehensive marketing campaign. The new brand campaign will help explain the benefits of booking with ebookers.com, including a new ebookers logo that has already been launched on site. Over the next year, ebookers expects to unveil more product features that will support the new customer-centric positioning, coupled with a large integrated brand communications campaign expected to be launched in early Autumn 2007.

Ebookers currently operates in 13 different European and Scandinavian countries: Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, France, Finland, Ireland, The Netherlands, Norway, UK, and operates the brand Mr. Jet in Denmark and Sweden. The company is expecting to move all ebookers websites on to the new global platform throughout 2007 and 2008.

Related Link: ebookers UK