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eBay unveils its travel site

The Web site features airline tickets and hotel rooms from Priceline.com. The companies are still working on an official launch date, however.

eBay has taken the wraps off of its new online travel site.

eBay Travel features discount airline tickets and hotel rooms from Priceline.com, as well as tickets, time-share rentals and luggage offered by eBay members. The site, unveiled Tuesday, is still going through "technical tests," Priceline spokesman Brian Ek said.

"We have (an official) launch date that we're working toward," Ek said. "We may or may not have some tweaks coming down the line."

Ek declined to say when eBay and Priceline will officially launch the site. eBay representatives did not return calls seeking comment.

eBay and Priceline announced last month that Priceline would offer travel services on the leading auction site. Initially, the companies said eBay customers would be able to book flights or make car reservations in an auction-style format or by using eBay's Buy It Now feature. As it stands now, the Priceline area of the site simply links to a modified version of Priceline's reservation engine primarily using the company's "name-your-own-price" format.

With a goal of reaching $3 billion in revenue in 2005, eBay has been increasingly turning to partnerships to help boost some of its categories. Earlier this year, the San Jose, Calif.-based company announced a partnership with Sothebys.com to bolster its high-end auctions. Similarly, the company announced a deal with LiquidSeats earlier this month to offer tickets to sporting events and concerts on its site.

Travel is one of the most profitable--and competitive--markets online. But it remains to be seen how well eBay's partnership with Priceline will perform. Amazon.com, which has similar arrangements with travel companies Expedia and Hotwire, has drawn criticism from its partners, which say they haven't gotten adequate promotion from the e-commerce giant.

eBay customers have offered travel-related items in the past, such as frequent flier upgrades and luggage. But those items were listed as a subcategory on eBay's main site. Similar to the way eBay Motors is set up, eBay Travel has its own domain name, logo and design.