Expedia.com Breaks New Ground in Online Travel

REDMOND, Wash., July 26, 1999 — Last-minute summer travelers going to Expedia.com TM ( http://expedia.com/ ), the Web’s leading online travel service, will find a host of new tools and features specifically designed to save them money as well as simplify their next travel planning and booking experience. The new tools on the Expedia.com travel service make it easier for travelers to find the right trip at the right price, especially when they are buying airline tickets or selecting from the vacation and cruise packages that best meet their needs.

“Travelers have a blend of three primary travel preferences — price-sensitivity, time-sensitivity or travel provider loyalty,”
said Richard Barton, general manager, Expedia.com.
“We spent thousands of hours in testing to create a product that addresses all three preferences. The right trip at the right price is readily available. This update to Expedia.com focuses on providing our customers with the best tools to find and book that right trip.”

Top Expedia.com Additions and Upgrades

  • Fare Compare, a new feature, helps travelers locate and book the same low airfares other Expedia.com visitors have found on popular routes. Because it searches actual fares found rather than just the lowest published airfares, Fare Compare provides a more reliable way of finding low fares. In the rare case when those fares are no longer available, Expedia.com will make additional recommendations on other low-fare options. For additional convenience, Fare Compare, which can be accessed without registering or signing in to Expedia.com, searches across all airlines at once and provides results for both domestic and international flights.

  • Express Purchase streamlines the booking process by enabling travelers to purchase tickets with three mouse clicks from the home page.

  • My Travel provides customers with their own personal travel page featuring their traveler preferences and profile in My Profile, current low fares for up to three routes of their choice in Fare Tracker, current and past itineraries, and quick links to book air, car, hotel, vacations and cruises — all in one convenient location.

  • Vacation and Cruise wizards give customers easy access to thousands of vacation packages and cruises and allow them to find just the right one by picking destination, price, activities and amenities.

  • Improved Search Tools help customers quickly and easily modify their searches (by date, time and airline) to find different flights and fares without having to scroll through or go back to other pages.

Highlights of Other New and Upgraded Features

  • Price Summary provides a running total of the entire cost breakdown for flight, hotel or car reservations throughout the purchase process, including taxes. It also separates out costs for different types of travelers (e.g., seniors, adults, children and infants).

  • Seat Pinpointer, now faster and available for more airlines, allows users to pick their seats from a graphical depiction of the interior of the plane. It allows them to select any available seat and even communicates with the airlines to cater to premium-flyer status.

  • Registration and sign-in have been greatly streamlined, now requiring only a member ID, password and e-mail address. Information such as home airport, preferences, and other traveler profiles are gathered at other, more relevant points as travelers use the product.

  • Drop-down calendars enable travelers to easily select travel dates by clicking directly on the desired dates in a calendar that comes up on the same page.

  • Find enables customers to search for flights, car rentals, articles, news and more by destination or any keyword across Expedia.com.

  • Fare Tracker allows customers to receive weekly updates on the lowest published fares between cities of their choice based on Fare Compare results. Customers can elect to receive Fare Tracker results weekly via e-mail or to view them on their personalized My Travel page.

This update, combined with the site’s No. 1 ranking in both sales and customer traffic, firmly establishes Expedia.com as the leader in online travel. Expedia.com was the most visited online travel site for each month of the second quarter of 1999, according to Media Metrix, with 4.2 million visitors in June alone. Second-quarter sales surpassed $183 million, more than triple the sales for the same period in 1998.

These changes come on the heels of the recently introduced Business Travel and Family Travel sections and the Expedia® Radio program that can now be heard on leading stations in Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia and Seattle.

About Expedia.com

Expedia.com ( http://expedia.com/ ) is the leading place to go on the Web to find the right trip at the right price. People can book air, car and hotel reservations as well as find vacations, cruises and other travel options. Along with booking travel, Expedia.com helps people plan their trips with in-depth destination information, travel news and mapping services.

Expedia.com has also been recognized as the top online travel site by such prestigious publications as PC Magazine, PC World, PC Computing, Macworld, Computerworld and Brill’s Content.

A credit card guarantee is offered on Expedia.com (U.S. and Canadian versions only) to protect credit cards used on the Internet from fraud. With this service, after customers use their credit cards for an initial purchase on Expedia.com, the 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 Corp. is proud to state that, because of the top-level site security, the service remains unused.

Expedia.com also offers exceptional customer service, with more than 250 travel representatives and travel agents available via (800) EXPEDIA (397-3342) and e-mail to answer questions and provide assistance to travelers 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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, Expedia.com 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.

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. Additional press information on Expedia can be found at http://expedia.com/daily/press/ .

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