Thursday, June 10, 2004
Buyers can include multiple products in their booking without worrying about confirmation status
San Francisco, June 10, 2004: Viator Inc., the online market leader for add-on travel products, today announced it has developed the first shopping cart facility to enable consumers to make travel bookings that include both immediate and delayed confirmation products.
The shopping cart has been launched on Viator's consumer web site, www.viator.com, and will be released to channel partners in the coming months.
Over 1,000 web sites have adopted Viator's database as the foundation of their add-on offering. The database consists of 4,000 tours, attractions, theme parks, city passes and transfers, sourced from 300-plus suppliers worldwide.
Ray Sargoni, CEO of leading San Francisco tour operator Super Sightseeing, described the Viator shopping basket as a major step forward. "Consumers like the idea of booking their tours on-line, but have become used to sites that offer advanced features like shopping basket and dynamic packaging, and they don't understand why add-ons should be sold any differently. We expect our sales through Viator and their distribution channel to jump quickly with this new functionality, " he said.
Discussing the shopping cart launch, Viator CEO Rod Cuthbert said the nature of the add-ons space made delivery of a true shopping basket capability a complex task.
"While products such as theme parks and sightseeing tours with unlimited capacity may be sold as 'freesale' and don't require confirmation, other add-on products must be confirmed by the supplier before we can complete a booking," he said.
"Helicopter tours and joy-rides are good examples, as are luxury guided tours in many European cities, or specialist tours like the 'Sex and the City' and 'Sopranos' tours in New York. Where capacity is limited, we don't confirm until the supplier says so."
Viator's approach differs markedly from other on-line sellers of travel add-ons. On some sites all products appear to be confirmed immediately, but the consumer is advised to contact the supplier for final confirmation upon arrival at their destination.
"We don't support that approach," said Cuthbert. "That's an advance payment service, not advance booking. Viator customers arrive at their destination knowing they have a confirmed booking," he said.
Viator's shopping cart pre-authorizes the consumer's credit card for all products within a booking, but only debits the card for confirmed items. Once an 'on-request' booking confirmation is received from the supplier, the balance of the transaction is debited.
More information about Viator may be found on their web site, www.viator.com.
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