TORONTO, April 2, 1997 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the availability of the Canadian version of Microsoft® Expedia
, a free online travel service, designed to meet the needs of Canadians shopping for travel online. Travelers can find Expedia on the World Wide Web at (http://expedia.MSN.com/) , and on MSN
, The Microsoft Network (connect-time charges may apply).
Localization Completed in Canada
Expedia helps make it easy for Canadians to research and book vacation and business travel. The Canadian version, which completed final testing and localization in Canada, lists fares and prices in Canadian dollars, prints and delivers airline tickets locally, and takes advantage of credit-card billing address security. Customer support is available in French and English.
“Microsoft is pleased to provide Canadians with the ability to tap into and book the latest airfares right from their PC using Expedia,” said Rich Barton, business unit manager for Microsoft Expedia. “Our goal is to empower travelers everywhere to take control of their travel planning, by giving them the tools they need to make travel planning decisions. Expedia has the potential to reshape the way consumers plan and purchase their travel.”
“The Microsoft Network is investing in Canada, and through Expedia, we are helping bring Canadians a world-class service,” said Ken Nickerson, general manager of MSN Canada. “Online travel is quickly becoming an essential service, and we are excited to make it easy for Canadians to experience this for themselves.”
How Expedia Works
Expedia taps into the same comprehensive reservation system used by professional travel agents, then displays the information in a way that consumers can understand. Expedia enables users to shop for the best fares and schedules and to build a complete personalized itinerary including air, hotel and car reservations. A series of software “wizards” guides customers through this process and helps them select the options they prefer.
When Canadian customers enter their country of residence during the initial customer registration process, (http://expedia.MSN.com/) , Expedia automatically switches over to show rates, availability and services relevant to Canadians. Tickets can be purchased online with credit cards directly through Expedia. Or, if users prefer, they can call a toll-free number the first time they use the service to enter their credit-card information. Reservations are confirmed immediately, and Expedia returns an e-mail message confirming the transaction. Tickets are sent by first-class or express mail, or they can be picked up at the airport ticket counter. Expedia also supports “e-ticket” ticketless travel.
For customers who need support when they’re on the road or need to make last-minute changes to their itineraries, Expedia operates toll-free phone lines staffed by travel professionals 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Canadian users can choose to receive telephone and e-mail support in French. In addition, Expedia bulletin boards offer customers the opportunity to exchange information with fellow travelers and Microsoft travel experts who are active members of this online community.
Expedia Content and Features
Expedia combines the airline schedules and hotel and car information that travelers need with compelling multimedia destination information.
The Expedia Travel Agent is the heart of Expedia. Travel Agent allows users to tap into the same database that travel agents use, without all the confusing codes and jargon. Software wizards – a series of prompts and questions – guide users through the process of researching, booking and purchasing travel. This feature includes a Flight Wizard, Car Wizard and Hotel Wizard. Expedia connects to the Worldspan reservation system to empower customers to book flights on most major airlines, make reservations at more than 25,000 hotels and access major car rental companies.
The Hotel Directory features more than 25,000 hotels around the world, with information on rates, amenities and more. Expedia even plots the hotel location on a city map, helping travelers be sure their hotel is conveniently located, whether they want to stay downtown for a business meeting or event, or near the airport. In addition, pictures and descriptions are available for many hotels.
The personalized Fare Tracker service helps travelers find the best airfare between two cities of their choosing. Users simply select three pairs of cities, and Expedia sends weekly e-mail messages with competitive fares between those destinations. Like all of Expedia, Fare Tracker is provided free of charge.
The Expedia World Guide includes cultural, historical and entertainment information for more than 300 domestic and international destinations – the equivalent of more than a dozen guidebooks online. Also, weekly Full Circle virtual tours present 360-degree panoramic views, information and suggestions on what users might see and do at a featured destination.
Through Connections forums, users can post questions and share tips with fellow travelers. Travel experts serve as forum managers. Savvy travelers and first-time vacationers alike can also find up-to-the minute travel news, weather information and currency exchange data.
Finally, the Mungo Park
™ online adventure magazine is featured on Expedia. Named for an 18th-century Scottish explorer who first charted the Niger River and mysteriously disappeared while navigating its waters, Mungo Park is the first online, interactive adventure magazine to feature both real-world exploration and provocative, original writing from today’s best-selling authors.
MSN is the second-largest Internet online service, offering compelling services, entertainment and communications on the Internet. MSN also provides hundreds of special-interest bulletin boards and such high-quality services and Web shows as the Microsoft Encarta® multimedia encyclopedia, the Expedia travel service, Star Trek: Continuum® , the Slate
online magazine, the CarPoint
online automotive service, the Microsoft Investor online investing service, and up-to-date news and information from MSNBC News. The MSN home page can be reached at (http://www.MSN.com/) .
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.
Microsoft, Expedia, MSN, Mungo Park, Encarta, Slate and CarPoint are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
Star Trek: Continuum is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures.
Other product and company names herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.
The Microsoft Network is operated by Microsoft Corp. on behalf of Microsoft Network LLC.
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