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  • 19 January 2004 10:02

Webjet launches new online travel portal provides access to business information that until now was reserved for travel agents

Sydney, January 19 2004 – Webjet, an Australian online travel company, is set to launch a new travel portal that will enable consumers to access more choice than ever before, increasing savings on flights, car hire and hotel bookings. The new website, which was delivered on budget and ahead of schedule by Microsoft’s Australian based Solutions Development Centre, enables customers to create and purchase highly customised itineraries in real time on the Internet. The site links to both to the Galileo system, one of the world's leading providers of electronic travel information, and other major travel, accommodation and car hire providers to allow customers to source the best possible deals and view all of their holiday requirements on one easy to use system.

The site was developed on Microsoft’s .NET Framework and employs Web services technology to maximise connectivity and scalability.

The growth in the online travel market has been well documented. Analysts suggest that the industry has been one of the top ebusiness performers. An estimated 20 per cent of all travel sold is online with market predictions showing growth of 84 per cent in the next six years, to reach US$79 billion in 2009.[1] This rapid growth means the market is very competitive.

“When we were developing the system, the key requirements were the ability to cope with the increased web traffic that is predicted for the industry, customisation and above all, security. Integration is also vital because our system needs to seamlessly connect with other major suppliers on a variety of platforms while reducing the complexity and focusing on ease of use for customers. The resulting system is far advanced on anything else that is available in the market today,” said David Clarke, managing director of Webjet.

Webjet partnered with the Microsoft Development Solution Centre to develop The Solution Centre, Microsoft’s rapid software development centre, provided Webjet with the environment and expertise needed to go from design to implementation in just 11 months.

“The Webjet project was exciting to work on. The travel industry is very dynamic and profit margins are minimal. Our goal with the solution centre is to enable thought leaders in every industry, such as Webjet, to rapidly and cost effectively utilise Microsoft’s technology and expertise to quickly design and implement a solution that provides a great customer experience,” commented Norbert Haehnel, director, Developer and Platform Strategy group at Microsoft Australia.

The SDC works closely with partners and customers to streamline the critical aspects of developing solutions to generate significant time and cost efficiencies. Customers will have exposure to Microsoft Solutions Framework highlighting best practices for developing software, opportunities to liaise with Microsoft experts and opportunities for skills development.

The Webjet project aims to offer unprecedented flexibility by introducing the credit card vault feature in which a customer can store the details of up to four credit cards. This enables a business customer for example, to pay for a flight on a corporate card and then settle their accommodation and car hire bill with their personal credit card. This flexibility is a first for the online travel market in Australia.

“Increased competition is great for consumers; it means more choice and cheaper prices for the Australian public. Airlines are making more and more flights available online, one major airline is predicting 25 per cent growth in online bookings, another is already generating approximately 80 per cent of their bookings through the internet. The new Webjet system will capitalise on this increase in availability and allow customers to make the most of the cost savings generated by this huge growth in online travel,” Mr Clarke concluded.

About Microsoft Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software - any time, any place and on any device.

For more information please contact Natalie Harrison or Katie Peters Howorth Communications Tel: (02) 9904-2618 or

Samantha Herron Microsoft Australia Ph: 02 9870 2200


[1] Jupiter Research Online Travel Forecast 2003

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