The online travel company Orbitz faced some major headwinds last quarter. Rising fuel prices hiked the cost of airline tickets, causing fourth-quarter domestic bookings to drop along with revenue by 3 percent.
But in Thursday’s earnings announcement, CEO Barney Harford raised his outlook for 2012 and told CNBC he expects to move the revenue needle up by “high single digits.”
“Airfare increases are a significant challenge for consumers. But we’re already seeing 14 percent growth in Orbitz hotel bookings in first six weeks of this year,” he said.
Harford’s strategy to reverse the revenue drop is largely based on people booking their flights and checking fares through their mobile devices.
“We’re really excited about mobile. Just a couple weeks ago we launched the ‘Hotels by Orbitz’ iPhone app, where you can book a hotel securely in ‘three taps.’ It builds on the success we’ve had on the iPad app,” he added.
Mobile now represents 12 percent of consumer searches on Orbitz.com, and Harford intends to capitalize on that trend by offering “steals and deals” exclusively for mobile users.
Additionally, Hardford announced Orbitz will launch a strategic partnership with American Express’ Amex Consumer Travel Network in the second half of year.
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