In Travel Deals, Size Matters

In the travel business, size matters, which explains why Expedia Inc. may have rushed to finish up a deal with Delta Air Lines, which last week decided to eliminate base commissions paid to many travel agents in the United States and Canada.

Bellevue, Wash.-based travel site Expedia signed what it called “a long-term enhanced marketing relationship” with Delta , whose commission decision was seen as more likely to hurt the smaller online travel agent operations.

Expedia said the marketing agreement includes Delta’s participation in Expedia Vacations and various other products in its portfolio of offerings. Financial specifics were not disclosed. Delta did hedge its bet last week, saying that it would continue to pay “individually negotiated incentive commissions” to select agents.

Delta’s statement on the agreement was telling.

“…our agreement with Expedia demonstrates our commitment to maintaining relationships with agencies that provide quality service to our customers and can achieve superior sales results for Delta,” said Pam Elledge, director of agency and corporate programs.

Expedia rival Travelocity.com signed a similar marketing deal with Delta on March 13.

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