ORLANDO, Fla., May 5, 1997 — Booking travel online just got easier as the Microsoft® Expedia
travel service today introduced a new design, new features and expanded editorial coverage on its award-winning Web site, located at (http://expedia.MSN.com) , and on MSN
, The Microsoft Network. Starting today, customers of Expedia have access to interactive airline seat selection, real-time flight information, an expanded directory of hotels and bed-and-breakfast inns, and coverage of new destinations in the Expedia World Guide.
To celebrate the new design and features, Microsoft Expedia is hosting a special offer from American Airlines available only on Expedia. Any customer who uses Expedia to buy an American Airlines ticket by June 6, 1997, will automatically receive a coupon good for
50 percent off his or her next flight on American Airlines or American Eagle (some restrictions apply).
“The new version of Expedia makes it even easier for users to take control of their travel planning,” said John Neilson, vice president, interactive service media group at Microsoft. “The redesigned screens in the Travel Agent make searching for flights and hotels much faster and easier, and the new Seat Pinpointer lets users choose their airline seats online. Everything we’re doing is focused on the goal of giving customers of Expedia the best possible tools for online travel planning, and this new version reflects our long-term focus on building the best possible online travel service.”
New Design and Editorial Content
In response to customer feedback, the new site design in Expedia makes it easier for customers to research and purchase airline tickets, hotel rooms and rental cars and improves the destination research experience.
Expedia Travel Agent. In the Expedia Travel Agent, the Flight, Car and Hotel wizards are now one page each, streamlining the travel planning process and saving customers valuable page-download time.
Microsoft Hotel Directory. In response to customer demand for information on bed-and-breakfast inns, the Microsoft Hotel Directory now includes more than 5,000 B & Bs, as well as listings for more than 25,000 hotels and inns, many including photographs and detailed descriptions.
Expedia World Guide. Expanded coverage includes 28 new destinations, including such popular leisure travel locations as Costa Rica and France’s Loire Valley.
New Travel Planning Features
The new version of Microsoft Expedia includes a number of new features designed to make it easier for travelers to see all their travel options:
Seat Pinpointer. As customers purchase airline tickets through Expedia, they can now choose their airline seats using a simple graphical interface. Presented with a detailed diagram of the plane’s interior, customers of Expedia select the open seats they prefer. Seat Pinpointer supports flights on most major airlines.
Flight Info. With the click of a mouse, customers can scan updated arrival and departure information, including gate numbers and flight status on specific flights.
Fare Compare. Customers of Expedia can quickly determine the lowest published air fares between two points, including applicable restrictions.
The Business of Online Travel
Online travel continues to be one of the most successful electronic commerce categories on the World Wide Web. In a new study, “Online Travel: Five Year Outlook,” issued by Jupiter Communications, the New York-based research firm predicts that online travel revenues will reach $827 million by the end of 1997 and exceed $4.5 billion by 2000.
Microsoft Expedia sells approximately $1 million (U.S.) worth of travel transactions each week and welcomes approximately 50,000 travelers a day to its front page. Transactions through Microsoft Expedia are available to residents of the United States and Canada, with additional international expansions scheduled by the end of 1997.
MSN is the third-largest Internet online service worldwide, 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® , Slate
online magazine, the CarPoint
online automotive service, 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, Encarta, Slate and CarPoint are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
StarTrek: Continuum is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures.
Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.
MSN is operated by Microsoft Corp. on behalf of Microsoft Network LLC.
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