Expedia, Inc. launched Expedia Corporate Travel in Canada, a fully-integrated off- and online business travel management company.

Based on the same easy-to-use and award-winning interface as Expedia.ca, businesses and business travellers using Expedia Corporate Travel can achieve greater savings and the ability to ensure compliance with company travel polices. This highly configurable solution automates approval processes, provides exceptional visibility into travel options and offers a travel solution business travellers already know and trust.

With headquarters in Toronto, Expedia Corporate Travel Canada will initially cater to travel managers, executives and financial personnel responsible for the business travel of small to mid-size companies. Expedia Corporate Travel drives savings through automating the travel booking process online through an initial short learning curve and the continuing ease of use when searching and booking. Canadian companies can be confident that as a customer of Expedia Corporate Travel's on-demand technology platform, they will be offered the opportunity to drive efficiencies within their corporate travel management program and realize as much as 70 percent in typical transaction fee costs. Currently, Expedia Corporate Travel's United States- based customers are averaging an online adoption rate of more than 85 percent.

Benefits of the Expedia Corporate Travel solution include:

- Secure and customized Web site provides powerful administrative tools, enabling companies to exercise control and manage their own accounts. Businesses can configure traveller accounts, travel-arranging privileges, itinerary management, policy control and central billing options.

- Direct access to a wide range of airfares, including rates from low-cost Canadian carriers, company-specific negotiated fares, and published fares, all in a single display.

- Traveller support available 24/7 and staffed by experienced corporate travel specialists so they can educate as well as book complex travel.

- Dedicated account management is offered to corporate customers in a consultative environment that can help companies streamline travel processes and minimize travel costs.

- Travel Arranger functionality allows for simple travel booking on behalf of others within the same company.

Expedia Corporate Travel has been successful at growing a base of customers around the world. In Canada, it has been operating a preview version of the product to solicit feedback. World Access Canada Inc., an insurance company based in Kitchener, ON, has joined as one of the first customers.

"Being familiar with Expedia.ca, our employees are excited that they will now have the availability to use a site especially designed for the business traveller, said Nicole Schickler at World Access Canada Inc. "From a management perspective, we're looking forward to the ability to save on our travel expenses through reduced transaction fees and the ability for our travellers to finally be exposed to numerous business travel options."

Omar Ahmad, one of the founders of Expedia, Inc.'s Canadian leisure travel site, Expedia.ca, will lead product development, marketing, supplier relations, operations and sales efforts as managing director of Expedia Corporate Travel Canada. Ahmad, who has nearly 20 years of travel industry experience, was most recently director of supplier relations and travel operations for Expedia.ca. Prior to that, he held executive positions for American Express Travel's global supplier relations group and also owned and operated a Canadian travel agency.

"Expedia Corporate Travel Canada takes the ease of use and familiarity of Expedia.ca, Canada's leading full-service online travel agency, and fuses it with the best management tools from our Corporate Travel operations in the U.S. and around the world," said Ahmad. "We've learned the ideal solution for corporate travel provides both unmatched technology, as well as full-service capabilities in a fully integrated and easy-to-use solution, with a simple pricing structure."

Expedia Corporate Travel's entry into the Canadian market highlights its ongoing strategy to build and implement a global travel management technology and services platform. "The launch of Expedia Corporate Travel in Canada is another important step in helping our customers manage their travel on a global basis", said Cheryl Rosner, President, Expedia Corporate Travel Worldwide. "We will continue to expand our business to match where our current and potential customers are located across the globe"

In 2004, Expedia Corporate Travel expanded internationally with the launch of Expedia Corporate Travel Europe, following the travel agency acquisitions of French-based Egencia and U.K.-based World Travel Management.

Related Link: Expedia Corporate Travel Canada