American Express to Market Rearden Travel Platform

American Express will start marketing Rearden Commerce's Web-based travel services platform to its 4,000 North American corporate business travel customers under a development and investment partnership.

American Express Business Travel and Rearden Commerce, the startup creator of a Web-based travel management service, have announced an investment and joint development deal aimed at expanding the market for the service.

As part of the deal, American Express has invested $22.5 million in Rearden Commerce, which has taken a seat on the startup companys board of directors.

The two companies have formed a joint product council that will create a development roadmap for future Rearden Commerce features and functions as well as plan what additional merchant services the two companies want to add to the platform, said Andrew McGraw, American Express senior vice president and general manager for North American business travel.

Rearden, based in San Mateo, Calif., has developed a Web-based application designed to give corporate users instant access to essential business services.

The Rearden platform, built on the service-oriented architecture, provides access to more than 135,000 merchants providing nearly every possible service that might be used by travelers.

"Our go to market plan and strategy is we will go private label to the market. It will be called [AXIOM] the American Express Intelligent Online Marketplace powered by Rearden Commerce," McGraw said.

/zimages/1/28571.gifClick here to read about a marketing alliance that Rearden Commerce formed late in 2005 with WorldTravel BTI.

American Express will market AXIOM, which is designed as a one-stop "shopping mall" to its more than 4,000 corporate business travel customers in North America.

The difference between Reardens service and other online travel reservation services, such as Travelocity, Orbitz, or Hotwire is that it goes beyond the typical airline, hotel and car reservation services to include such services as dining reservations, package shipping, parking, limousines, entertainment tickets and audio or Web conferencing.

For Rearden, the American Express partnership is an important step for the company to keep expanding its platform, said Jeffrey Pulver, Reardens vice president of marketing.

"Our business is really fueled by the network effect, so the more buyers we get on the system and the more employees we get on the system…the more value it brings to our suppliers," Pulver said.

Reardens ambition is nothing less than to expand its travel platform to a scale rivaling Amazon.com and eBay, he said.

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John Pallatto

John Pallatto

John Pallatto has been editor in chief of QuinStreet Inc.'s eWEEK.com since October 2012. He has more than 40 years of experience as a professional journalist working at a daily newspaper and...