MSN Expedia Inks Largest Hotel Advertising and Co-Marketing Buys On the Internet

REDMOND, Wash., March 29, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. today announced recent agreements between the MSN
travel service ( ) and three of the world’s leading hotel and travel reservation companies, representing the largest hotel advertising buys on the Internet.

The co-marketing and advertising deals with Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, and position MSN Expedia as a one-stop travel marketplace where consumers can access an increased selection of hotels’ options and services. The deals also constitute both Starwood’s and Hyatt’s largest online advertising purchases and illustrate how MSN Expedia is working with the industry to reshape the way in which travel suppliers connect with consumers on the Web.

The agreements with Starwood, Hyatt and take advertising and
co-marketing beyond the traditional banner ads. The hotel companies will also have direct links from the MSN Expedia home page to their respective Web sites, special hotel offers in the MSN Expedia
section and other co-marketing opportunities to reach customers.

“These agreements, along with our more than four months of sold-out ad inventory, clearly illustrate the value of MSN Expedia and it’s leadership in the industry,”
said Erik Blachford, director of advertising, MSN Expedia.
“We are building the world’s premier online travel marketplace through strong relationships with the industry and outstanding services for consumers. We attribute these agreements to the high caliber of the more than 5 million customers visiting MSN Expedia monthly. We will continue to develop compelling ways for hotel suppliers to reach consumers on the Web.”

Advertising and Co-Marketing Agreements

The Hyatt advertising agreement provides a fixed, direct link from the MSN Expedia front page to, Hyatt’s Web site that offers easy access to rates and reservations, destination information, vivid graphics, panoramic photos and more. The agreement also includes banner advertisements on MSN Expedia and other MSN sites including MSNBC, the homepage, the MSN Sidewalk® online guide and the MSN MoneyCentral
personal finance online service. All ads will be directly linked to

“The growing popularity of MSN sites combined with a direct link to for booking reservations creates a uniquely advantageous opportunity,”
said Thomas F. O’Toole, vice president, marketing, Hyatt Hotels Corp.
“Our Microsoft relationship is an important step in Hyatt’s marketing strategy for electronic commerce.”

MSN Expedia also signed a similar advertising agreement with, one of the top five travel wholesalers for Nevada and the top producer of online room nights into Las Vegas.

“As we looked to expand our reach and brand awareness, MSN Expedia was an obvious choice,”
said Tim Poster, CEO of
“The industry-leading position of MSN Expedia for online travel planning makes it a natural fit for our specialized travel offers to Las Vegas and other gaming venues.”

The MSN Expedia agreement with Starwood, one of the world’s largest hotel operating companies with such brands as Sheraton, Westin, Four Points, Caesars, W Hotels and Luxury Collection and St. Regis Hotels goes beyond an advertising relationship to include co-marketing opportunities such as joint travel promotions and joint advertising.

The agreement also extends to international MSN Expedia products in Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia.

As part of the agreement, 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.

“By linking Starwood’s global network of hotel resources with the established online MSN Expedia 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 and marketing, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide.
“Our agreement with Microsoft will be very instrumental in intensifying our marketing efforts on the Web – a medium that is quickly becoming the preferred method of commerce for frequent travelers.”

About MSN Expedia Travel

MSN Expedia ( ) 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. In addition, PC Magazine recently announced Expedia is the
“Editor’s Choice”
for best leisure-travel site. Expedia is also one of the Web’s most successful electronic-commerce sites, with weekly travel sales currently exceeding
$12 million.

A credit card guarantee is offered on MSN Expedia (U.S. and Canadian versions only) to protect credit card users on the Internet from fraud. With this service, after an initial purchase on Expedia, customers’ credit cards are protected from fraud liability – up to $50 (U.S.) – on any purchases made in the subsequent 12 months on or off the Internet. Since the program’s introduction in June 1998, Microsoft is proud to state that, because of the top-level site security, the service remains unused. MSN Expedia also offers 24-hour toll-free telephone and e-mail support to help customers before, during and after their travels.

About Microsoft

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, MSN, Expedia, Sidewalk and MoneyCentral 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.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Expedia, please visit . If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

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