MSN Expedia Goes Abroad With U.K. and Australian Online Travel Sites

REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 12, 1998 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the global expansion of its leading online travel service, MSN
™
Expedia
™
( http://expedia.MSN.com/ ), with the availability of United Kingdom and Australian versions of the site. The sites are completely re-engineered, mirroring the travel customs in each country. In addition, MSN Expedia has developed relationships with top-tier travel vendors in each country, a first step in achieving the trust of consumers.

In keeping with the overarching mission of the MSN Expedia travel service, the United Kingdom and Australian products, along with the existing MSN Expedia Canadian product, were designed to afford consumers unmatched control, comprehensiveness and ease of use in the travel-buying process. The MSN Expedia site for the U.K. is available today at http://expedia.msn.co.uk/ ; the Australian site, branded Getaway Travel, has been available since Nov. 3 and can be accessed at http://expedia.com.au/ .

The U.K. and Australian sites will continue the style and excellence of MSN Expedia in the United States, which was recently awarded the international EMMA award in the Lifestyle/Entertainment category. The EMMA award recognizes excellence in design, innovation and creativity.

“Our goal is to bring the benefits of ‘travel at your fingertips’ to these markets,”
said Rich Barton, travel business unit manager at Microsoft.
“We’ve worked very hard to make these releases relevant and attractive to local consumers, while keeping the very best features of the product in the States. And with the positive feedback we’ve received from travel experts abroad, we believe we’ve come up with first-rate and truly unique products for both markets.”

MSN Expedia worked with organizations in both countries to provide unique products geared toward local travel customs. In the United Kingdom, Carlson Worldchoice will provide quality customer service. British Airways and Thomson Holidays, whose products are well known for their high quality, are key launch associates. Both sites offer market-specific features such as discount fares and high-quality content written for their respective audiences. The U.K. site also incorporates 75,000 late availability tours, updated every 30 minutes and searchable through the Holiday Finder. Additional new features in the U.K. product include these:

  • Integrated published and discount fares

  • Holiday Finder late availability package holidays

  • Waterstone’s travel book section

  • Content from Business Traveller magazine

The MSN Expedia Australian site, Getaway Travel, is a product of NineMSN, a joint venture between Microsoft and Australia’s Publishing and Broadcasting Limited (PBL). PBL, producer of Australia’s popular travel show
“Getaway TV,”
knows Australians and the Australian travel market well and is committed to making Getaway Travel a successful local product. New features in the Australian product include the following:

  • Integrated published and discount fares

  • Unique packages and tours

  • Content ties to the
    “Getaway TV”
    show and magazine

Both sites continue the MSN Expedia commitment to excellent customer service by having local staffs of seasoned travel professionals to answer questions and assist consumers in making their travel decisions. The sites also benefit from the world-class functionality of MSN Expedia:

  • WorldGuide – an online magazine that features a guide to 300 destinations

  • Weather information and maps of regions worldwide

  • Currency converters

  • Relevant links to other areas on the Web

About MSN Expedia

MSN Expedia ( http://expedia.MSN.com/ ) is the place to go on the Web to easily plan travel, purchase tickets, and make hotel and car reservations. Part of the MSN network of Internet services, MSN Expedia offers in-depth destination content and travel news as well as mapping, address finding and direction services. Since its inception in October 1996, MSN Expedia has become one of the Web’s most successful electronic-commerce sites, with weekly travel sales exceeding $7 million.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
“MSFT”
) 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, MSN and Expedia are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

For more information, high-tech and business press only:

Kim Nguyen, Shandwick Public Relations, (425) 452-5423, knguyen@shandwick.com

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/ on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

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