MSN Expedia Expands its Travel Marketplace

REDMOND, Wash., March 29, 1999 — MSN Expedia customers will now have direct access to an increased selection of special hotel options and services, thanks to new agreements with three of the world’s leading hotel and travel reservation companies. Microsoft today announced agreements with Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Hyatt Regency Hotels and Resorts and to provide customers with direct links from the MSN Expedia home page. In return, the hotel companies will provide their customers with direct links to the MSN Expedia “Deals” section. This adds to the fact that customers can already book more than 45,000 hotels through the MSN Expedia Hotel Directory.

“By linking Starwood’s global network of hotel resources with the MSN Expedia established online travel service, we provide consumers with seamless and unlimited access to a world of travel opportunities,” said David Van Kalsbeek, senior vice president of sales, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide.

The advertising and co-marketing agreements with these companies are the largest hotel advertising and co-marketing deals on the Internet; they reflect growing demand for online advertising space on the MSN Expedia site.

“We attribute these recent hotel advertising agreements to the more than five million quality customers that visit MSN Expedia every month,” said Erik Blachford, director of advertising, MSN Expedia. “As we move forward, we will continue to develop compelling ways for hotel suppliers to reach consumers on the Web.”

In addition to Starwood, Hyatt and, MSN Expedia is continuously expanding its electronic travel network of suppliers, offering more customer benefits, such as up-to-date travel vacation and ski package information. The Expedia Travel Network (ETN) currently features more than 30 different travel vendors, offering Expedia customers special deals on a variety of travel options such as: cruises, vacation packages, bed-and breakfast listings, rental villas and more.

Starwood is one of the world’s largest hotel operating companies that includes such brands as Sheraton, Westin, Four Points and Caesars. As part of the agreement with MSN Expedia, Starwood will become a member of the MSN Expedia Associates Program, allowing customers to book airline and car reservations directly from Starwood sites through the MSN Expedia co-branded booking engine.

The agreements with Hyatt and also include banner advertisements on other MSN sites including MSNBC, the homepage, MSN Sidewalk an MSN Money Central.

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