Technological efficiency will help Chicago-based Orbitz Worldwide rise to the top of the competitive online travel industry, new President Steve Barnhart believes.

As online bookings threaten to surpass traditional services for the first time in 2007, Barnhart is smelling blood. In addition to streamlining multiple brands and reviving the career of game show host Wink Martindale in an entertaining advertising campaign, the 300-plus programmers and technical staffers employed by Orbitz in Chicago and offshore development centers in India and Israel are assigned to balance technological innovation with consumer convenience.

"The challenge is not to make it too complicated," Barnhart said. "We always ask 'What is the right level of technology to solve the problem without making it too difficult?'"

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