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Media Contact:  Jackie Olt - Omega World Travel - jolt@owt.net

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Omega Study Uncovers Traveler Priorities

FAIRFAX, VA - Omega World Travel here knows that over 50% of air travelers would be willing to pay up to $25 extra for a nonstop flight. It also knows that a comfortable bed is the top priority for 35% of hotel guests, followed by a quiet room, which is favored by 13%.

How does Omega know this? Simple: It asked.

Omega, a mega-chain with 100 full service branches and some $750 million in sales, recently resumed its periodic Omega World Travel Poll, which asks Omega clients, and random Web surfers, to put in their two cents worth about things that matter to them.

The most recent poll reveals that 68% of respondents believe the proposed United/US Airways merger will cause fares to rise.

The poll also shows that most business travelers (about two-thirds) with free time tend to work in a little sightseeing or just relax; 12% go shopping, 8% relax at the pool and only 3% take in a cultural event.

Thirty-nine percent of respondents said that when they're on the road, they read the main section of the newspaper first, while only 10% first turn to the sports page.

Not every one of these nuggets of information is going to improve Omega's bottom line, but agency president Gloria Bohan thinks it's a good thing anyway.

"It's interesting," she said, and it allows the agency to find opportunities to "add extra value" by building up a storehouse of information about traveler preferences.

And every once in a while a tidbit from the poll comes in handy during a supplier negotiation, Bohan said.

It's one thing to say "We think our clients prefer this," but it's something else to say "Our research shows that 72% of travelers feel this way," she added.

A little hard data, Bohan continued, "gives us a little more of a realistic approach."

In addition, it reinforces the agency's ongoing practice of soliciting feedback from clients about their trips, which reinforces the idea that the agency cares about how things go. In short, "We want them to know that we want to know," Bohan said.

Omega is a travel agency with a heavy emphasis on corporate and government business travel management, and as such, it does not employ an army of trained statisticians to conduct rigorously scientific statistical research on traveler preferences.

But the poll results from known clients who respond by fax, track closely to results from random visitors to the Web site, which the company thinks is a good sign.

Omega tries to keep things simple to avoid quirks and ambiguities. A characteristic question on the latest poll offered just two possible responses: "What do you think of baggage templates or sizers on airport x-ray machines?"

The question elicited 509 answers; 77% said "favor them," and 23% said "don't favor them." No fuss. No footnotes.

Next question.

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About Omega World Travel
Omega World Travel is a woman-owned, diversity supplier, and one of the largest travel management companies in the US. With worldwide headquarters in Fairfax, VA, Omega serves corporate, government, meeting, and leisure clients throughout the US., Europe, and the Middle East. Omega World Travel also owns Cruise.com, one of the largest sellers of cruises on the Internet, and TravTech, a software development company and Omega Meetings and Conference services.


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