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Expedia and Hotels.com's Direct Connect Technology Saves Time and Money for More Than a Thousand Hotel Partners
Leading Travel Sites Begin Second Phase of Technology Roll-out to Further Streamline Reservations Process
PRNewswire
BELLEVUE, Wash.

Expedia, Inc. and Hotels.com(TM) have launched the next phase of implementation for their pioneering direct connect technology, which currently saves more than a thousand hotel properties time and money by enabling the automatic delivery of bookings made on the two travel sites. The second phase will enable hoteliers to manage the room inventory they offer on Expedia.com(R) directly from the hotel's central reservation systems (CRS), eliminating the need to manually update the Expedia(R) extranet.

The second phase roll-out of direct connect demonstrates Expedia's momentum in developing this proprietary technology, which will provide hotels with a streamlined system for managing rates and inventory, as well as the opportunity to optimize bookings in a more cost-effective environment. The technology was designed from the ground up to serve the unique needs of the hotel industry.

Earlier this year Expedia and Hotels.com began the first phase of deploying direct connect with participating hotels, which automated the delivery of bookings, thereby reducing labor costs. The second phase of the deployment, now underway, will give hotel partners the ability to automatically push to Expedia real-time availability, rates, and inventory information, thus enabling two-way communications between the different systems. In addition, reservations made on Expedia will be booked directly within a property's on-site system through the chain's CRS. This phase will also save hotels significant time and money by eliminating the need for loading rates manually into an extranet system.

Hyatt Hotels will be the first partner to have completed the two-way direct connectivity. The technology is being rolled out systematically across the Hyatt network and will be completed this month.

"Hyatt has always focused on the best interests of our hotels and that includes helping them cut costs and improve efficiencies as they work with distribution partners, such as Expedia and Hotels.com," said Joan Lowell, vice-president electronic distribution, Hyatt Hotels Corp. "This direct two- way connectivity provides flexible rate deployment, eliminates manual labor and, equally important, provides our hotels with the opportunity to revenue manage the rates and availability on Expedia.com."

"Expedia and Hotels.com realized that, to remain competitive, our hotel partners needed a flexible system that could cut distribution costs and increase marketing efficiency," said Spencer Rascoff, vice president of lodging of Expedia and Hotels.com. "Rather than trying to adapt systems built for other travel segments, such as the airlines, we developed a hotel-friendly technology that saves time and money, while safeguarding the customer shopping experience. We look forward to building on this momentum as direct connectivity continues to pay dividends for Hyatt and our other hotel partners."

In addition to Hyatt Hotels Corp, the two leading travel sites currently have one-way direct connections with about a dozen other chains, comprising more than a thousand hotel properties. Implementations with several thousand additional hotels are slated in the coming months, making Expedia and Hotels.com's direct connect program the fastest-growing in the industry. Recently, Expedia and Hotels.com announced plans to develop two-way direct connections with Omni Hotels, Prime Hospitality Corp, Outrigger Hotels & Resorts and Ohana Hotels & Resorts, La Quinta, Noble House Hotels & Resorts, and Destination Hotels & Resorts.

Following its 2002 acquisition of Newtrade Technologies, Expedia has worked closely with its hotel partners to meet their needs by developing this technology. Expedia's direct connect platform also maintains a superior customer experience by funneling search requests through Expedia.com and Hotels.com rather than repeatedly querying a hotelier's system. This enables customers to continue receiving accurate search results quickly and efficiently.

Today's announcement showcases the growing success of this initiative to build direct connections with both independent hotels and chains of any size. Expedia and Hotels.com offer this technology at no cost to hoteliers.

About Expedia, Inc.

Expedia, Inc. is the world's leading online travel service and the fourth largest travel agency in the U.S. Expedia's award-winning Expert Searching and Pricing (ESP) technology delivers the most comprehensive flight options available online. ESP also allows customers to dynamically build complete trips that combine flights, Expedia(R) Special Rate hotels and other lodging, ground transportation, and destination services and activities. Expedia's quality and leadership have been recognized in awards such as PC Magazine's "Editors' Choice" and Forbes' "Favorite General Travel Site." Expedia is an operating company of IAC/InterActiveCorp . CST: 2029030-40

About Hotels.com

Hotels.com is a leading provider of lodging worldwide, offering reservation services through its own websites (including www.hotels.com and others), its interactive affiliate network (www.IAN.com), and its toll-free call centers (1-800-2-HOTELS). Hotels.com gives travelers the widest selection of lodging accommodations from traditional hotels to vacation rentals at over 12,000 properties in more than 400 cities in North America, Europe, the Caribbean and Asia. The company is a one-stop shopping source for hotel pricing, amenities and availability, and also specializes in providing travelers with accommodations during sold-out periods. Hotels.com is an operating business of IAC/InterActiveCorp . CST: 2059975-40.

Expedia, Expedia.com, and the airplane logo are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Expedia, Inc. in the United States, Canada and/or other countries. Other product and company names mentioned herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Hotels.com Best Rate Guarantee

Prepaid hotel and vacation rental reservations booked through Hotels.com are guaranteed to be the lowest rate you can find. If there is a lower rate available for the same dates and the same hotel or vacation rental, you must contact us within 24 hours of booking your prepaid hotel and vacation rental reservation. We will either refund you the difference or cancel the reservations without penalty. This guarantee only applies to prepaid hotel and vacation rental. It does not apply to special events such as New Year's or major sporting events. To learn more or to claim a guarantee, please visit http://www.hotels.com/guarantee/faq.jsp.

SOURCE: Expedia, Inc.

CONTACT: Kim Coutts or Al de Leon, both of Fleishman-Hillard,
+1-415-318-4004 or expediapr@fleishman.com, for Expedia and Hotels.com