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When online travel agencies Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz launched their own online business travel agencies years ago, the traditional travel management companies sniffed that the OTAs wouldn’t be able to compete because business travel was more complicated than just an Internet solution. Egencia expanded its offline services, and has passed by many of its critics.
Egencia, which is Expedia Inc.’s corporate travel unit, has taken the partnership route to further its global ambitions.
The company added five new partners worldwide and launched online services in the Czech Republic over the last six months in an effort to better meet client demands in emerging markets.
Egencia states that it is the fifth largest travel management company in the world, and has its own operations or partnerships in more than 60 countries.
“Launching through local partners may allow Egencia to gain more, and better quality, traction in the market faster than going it alone, since the partners will likely have awareness in their markets and client relationships Egencia can capitalize on,” said Henry Harteveldt, founder and travel industry analyst of Atmosphere Research Group.
Last year, Egencia’s air ticket volumes increased 9%, according to an Expedia Inc. Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
Among Egencia’s moves over the last six months, the company debuted new online services in the Czech Republic so customers can now access the Egencia online booking tool locally. This reinforces the existing partnership between the company and Czech partner Business Travel Unlimited.
Three of the five new partners are located in the Middle East/North Africa region.
Dubai partner Al Tayer Travel, a privately held company that operates in 12 Middle Eastern countries and is based in the city, is another new addition to the Exoedia Global Alliance program, which began in the United Arab Emirates in 2009.
Clients in Egypt are now covered by Egencia through a partnership with Giza-based Travco Group International, a full-service travel agency with 30 independent companies.
Algeria partner OK Voyage is one of the top five travel companies in the country and now serves Egencia customers from its headquarters in Algiers.
In South America, Egencia added Uruguay-based Viajes y Turismo, and in New Zealand EGA partner Orbit Corporate Travel joined the list of Egencia’s growing empire.