Enterprise says it will stop listing on Orbitz

Wed Mar 30, 2011 12:42pm EDT

* Enterprise to stop offering car rentals on Orbitz

* Claims commissions are too high

* Orbitz says replaced Enterprise with other suppliers

CHICAGO, March 30 (Reuters) - Enterprise Holdings, which owns and operates several rental car companies, said on Wednesday it will pull its content from two sites run by Orbitz Worldwide (OWW.N), which Enterprise says demands "unacceptably high" commission rates.

The decision comes as various travel suppliers, including airlines, reconsider the cost they pay to third parties to list their inventory.

"Their position greatly limits consumer choice and makes renting a car less affordable," Pam Nicholson, chief operating officer of Enterprise, said in a statement. "It is also punitive towards rental car brands that have contributed to Orbitz's success for many years."

Enterprise operates Alamo Rent A Car, National Car Rental, and Enterprise Rent-A-Car brands. The company will stop listing on Orbitz.com and Cheaptickets.com on Friday. Alamo and National brands have been listed on Orbitz since 2001, Enterprise said.

Orbitz, an online travel company that competes with Expedia Inc (EXPE.O) and Priceline.com (PCLN.O), said it was unable to reach a new deal with Enterprise after the previous contract expired.

"Orbitz has replaced Enterprise Holdings with other suppliers that better serve the needs of our customers," the company said in a statement. "Moving forward, we will continue to give customers choice among a robust selection of car rental options -- including Hertz, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Thrifty, Advantage and other leading suppliers -- that will fully meet travelers' needs."

Orbitz, meanwhile, is at the center of a conflict with AMR Corp's AMR.N American Airlines, which stopped listing its fares on Orbitz.

Last year, Orbitz refused to use American's new direct connect link, and American stopped selling its tickets on Orbitz sites. American says its direct connect technology lets shoppers choose airlines based on other offerings besides fares.

Expedia later dropped American Airlines' tickets from its listings, charging the airline's new commercial strategy is "anti-consumer" and "anti-choice."

Direct connect threatens to disrupt the established model that sends air fare information to travel agencies via global distribution systems.

"It's kind of a trend that we're seeing," said Morningstar analyst Warren Miller. "Some of these travel suppliers are really getting fed up with online travel agencies."

"If the price gets too high, then they'll pull it," Miller said.

Shares of Orbitz were up 0.3 percent at $3.60 on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Kyle Peterson, editing by Matthew Lewis)

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