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Old 03-03-2003, 06:42 PM   #1
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Washington Post: Rates, Dates, Deals For Orbitz Travelers

Washington Post: Rates, Dates, Deals For Orbitz Travelers
By Leslie Walker
Sunday, March 2, 2003; Page H07

Web travel agent Orbitz (www.orbitz.com) is sprucing up its travelers' tool kit with a new flight-search option, an expanded inventory of hotel rooms and a beefed-up lodging locator.

The airfare finder, debuting this weekend, is aimed at people with flexible travel plans. It shows the cheapest fares available over a 30-day period, instead of making users guess which date will offer the best deal (turn to today's Travel section for a look at how this "flexible date" tool works).

Orbitz also has added more hotel rooms through deals with independent hotel operators. The site, founded by American, Continental, Delta, Northwest and United airlines, previously offered rooms mostly through a third-party consortium but now negotiates directly with many hotels. Orbitz can now sort hotel rooms by the availability of discounted "Orbitz Saver" rates, which require full payment in advance.

Lastly, Orbitz's "hotel matrix" search allows users to look for rooms by distance from a landmark, address, price, or quality. For example, you can type "Sears Tower" directly in the hotel search box to find rooms close to Chicago's tallest skyscraper. In some big cities, Orbitz has also added neighborhood pages with maps of nearby hotels.
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