AboutAnywhere.com Responds to Backlash of Outraged Travel Agents Regarding Objective to Eradicate Commissions in Hotel Industry

    AboutAnywhere.com reinforces and supports the continued need for the
    traditional travel agency, the one-on-one customer service it provides
    and its incomparable expertise in the travel industry.

    MIAMI, Feb. 3 /CNW/ - In response to backlash from the travel agency
community in reference to AboutAnywhere.com's commission-free online
distribution model for the hotel industry, the Company issues the following
    (Logo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090108/CLTH010LOGO )
    With the emergence of the "virtual" or Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) came
speculation and concern over the "death" of the brick and mortar travel agency
community.  Such a metaphoric death would leave many travel agents without
employment and the travel industry without an integral part of its
foundational infrastructure.
    The main issue that the team at http://www.aboutanywhere.com
(AboutAnywhere.com) has studied is the high commissions hotels are required to
pay OTAs.  The original intention of the travel agent commission was to
compensate the agent for sending a customer to a particular hotel.  That
process evolved into customers referring to an OTA and searching for a list of
hotels in any particular area and then proceeding to book their hotel stay. In
today's online environment, a fee and commission may be justified in the
latter case if the customer has never heard of the hotel or is unfamiliar with
the location that they are traveling to.
    A fee and commission is not deemed fair, however, when the customer knows
where they want to go and which hotel they would like to stay in.  What real
service is being provided by the OTA in that instance?  A hotel is required to
pay 25 to 35 percent of its booking revenue in commissions to an OTA even if
the customer had already decided that that specific hotel was the one they
wanted to patronize but were unable to find the hotel's website in order to
book directly.  Though initially reluctant, hotels tolerate these high
commissions simply because they just cannot compete with the exorbitant
marketing budgets and team of Search Engine experts that the OTAs have the
luxury of maintaining.
    "We believe that travel agents are and will continue to be an essential
element of the travel industry.  AboutAnywhere.com's new commission free model
is meant to connect customers who already know where they want to go and stay
with the destination and hotel that they are looking for, without charging the
hotel any commission," explains Ashwin Kamlani, CEO of AboutAnywhere.com.
    Travel agents provide a personal touch and level of care to the travel
experience that remains a very high priority to certain individuals who may be
a bit technologically challenged, unfamiliar with their travel destination, or
who would just rather complete their travel reservations with a live person
instead of a computer screen.  But for the millions upon millions of Internet
travel shoppers that would rather conduct their business with a few clicks of
the mouse, AboutAnywhere.com provides the world's largest hotel network
comprised of the familiar large hotel chains as well as the remote 5-room inn
with the worth-the-trip view.

    About the Company:  AboutAnywhere.com, founded by Danish entrepreneur
Morten Sondergaard, operates the world's first and only free online
distribution network for the hotel industry.  Ashwin Kamlani, formerly Global
VP of Distribution with Sol Melia Hotels & Resorts, was selected as CEO of
AboutAnywhere.com in March 2008 and is based in the Company's Miami office.

    Jenny Pimentel

For further information:

For further information: Jenny Pimentel of AboutAnywhere.com,
+1-786-340-9703, Jenny.Pimentel@AboutAnywhere.com, Web Site:

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