Case Study: Orbitz

Orbitz is a leading online travel company that enables travelers to search for and purchase a broad array of travel products, including airline tickets, lodging, rental cars, cruises and vacation packages. Since launching its website to the general public in 2001, Orbitz has become the third largest online travel site based on gross travel bookings.

On Orbitz, consumers can search more than 455 airlines, tens of thousands of lodging properties worldwide and 22 car rental companies. Orbitz was acquired by Cendant’s Travel Distribution Services division in November 2004, and is part of the Consumer Travel Americas group. [Source: Orbitz, March 2005]

Things to read:

Questions to consider:

  • How does Orbitz affect established marketing channels in the travel industry?
  • How is the Internet changing the way consumers book their travel plans?
  • Why might a customer choose Orbitz to book travel as opposed to other vendors like travel agencies or sites such as Expedia, Priceline or Travelocity?
  • Why would any of the major airlines want to invest in Orbitz?
  • What is the so-called “Most Favored Nation” or “MFN” provision that Orbitz has with the major airlines that own it? Does the provision give Orbitz an unfair competitive advantage?

Intellectual Property

Selected trademark applications and registrations:

  • ORBOT;
  • Search real-time for U.S. trademarks.

Selected patents:

  • 5,832,497 — Electronic automated information exchange and management system;
  • Search real-time for new U.S. patents granted to Orbitz.