Expedia.com Helps Customers Get Great Deals on Hotel Rooms With New Hotel Price Matcher

REDMOND, Wash., Sept. 8, 1999 — With the launch of Hotel Price Matcher and upgrades to the existing Hotel Wizard, finding the right hotel at the right price just got easier on Expedia.com TM ( http://expedia.com/ ), the world’s leading online travel service. Hotel Price Matcher makes Expedia.com the first full-service online travel site to allow customers to specify their own prices for hotel rooms, giving them access to extremely competitive rates that might not otherwise be available to them.

With Hotel Price Matcher, customers tell the Expedia.com travel service the price they are willing to pay for hotel rooms, along with their dates of stay, class of hotel, destination and neighborhood they want. Within moments they are notified of whether or not their request has been matched.

Expedia.com is working with a number of leading, nationally recognized hotel brands to provide rooms for Hotel Price Matcher. Some of these include Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Mirage Resorts Inc. and MGM Grand Inc. In addition, Expedia.com is working with MeriStar Hotels & Resorts Inc. (NYSE “MMH”), the nation’s largest independent hotel operator and the largest franchisee of Hilton, Sheraton, Westin and Radisson in the country; and Bristol Hotels and Resorts (NYSE “BH”), one of the largest independent hotel operators in the United States with 115 hotels including nearly 90 Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn properties.

The new Hotel Price Matcher joins a host of other innovative hotel-related features on Expedia.com. An upgraded Hotel Wizard allows customers to find a hotel near an address, quickly access complete lists of hotels in cities worldwide with one click, and easily sort search results by chain, price, city and distance.

“With the introduction of Hotel Price Matcher and the new upgrade to our Hotel Wizard, Expedia.com continues to raise the bar in online travel,” said Richard Barton, business unit manager, Expedia.com. “This expansion to our hotel section is a winning solution for both our consumers and participating hotels. Whether customers are price-sensitive or hotel chain-loyal, we are able to accommodate their preferences because travelers now have the option of choosing a hotel and getting a price, or choosing a price and getting a hotel.”

Hotel Price Matcher users will enjoy all the customer service benefits that have contributed to the success of Expedia.com. These include a 12-month credit card guarantee, a privacy policy backed by TRUSTe, security through site encryption, easy-to-use drop-down clickable calendars, 24-hour customer service via a toll-free number and the rest of the industry-leading online travel services on Expedia.com.

Expedia.com also contains the Hotel Price Matcher Promise, pledging that customers will be matched with a room in a name-brand hotel or high-quality independent property.

Hotel Price Matcher is available for the top U.S. destinations booked online, including New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Orlando, Fla., and Hawaii.

About Hotel Price Matcher

Expedia.com helps customers make informed decisions about the price they want to submit by providing detailed maps and area descriptions highlighting points of interest and significant cultural, architectural and social details for reference on neighborhoods.

The site also provides information on the different classes of hotel and approximate standard rates that customers would ordinarily expect to pay by location. Expedia.com will even display the taxes, and it will take travelers through a final detailed approval process to help ensure that they fully understand their commitment.

Within moments of submitting their request, customers will be notified on screen of whether or not their request has been matched. Bookings are nonrefundable and noncancelable. Customers will receive an automatic upgrade to a higher class of room if one is available at their requested price. Where a match is not possible, customers are offered the opportunity to search for a room through the existing Hotel Wizard database or submit another request through Hotel Price Matcher, changing the dates, areas or class of hotel they wish to search.

To launch the new service, Expedia.com is offering a special promotion giving Hotel Price Matcher customers a $25 credit card reward if their offer is matched. This offer is available from Sept. 9 until Oct. 6, 1999. (Some restrictions apply. See Expedia.com for complete offer details.)

About Hotel Wizard

Hotel Price Matcher joins the Expedia.com Hotel Wizard to provide customers with more ways to shop for hotels. New, robust features in the Hotel Wizard respond directly to customer demands and ensure a high level of satisfaction with the site.

  • Find a hotel near an address. Utilizing mapping technology from Expedia® Maps, travelers can search for a hotel near a specific U.S. address and rank results by distance.

  • City quick links and search. With one click, customers can receive a list of hotels in each of the top 10 online destinations or in a customer-specified city.

  • Hotel list modifications. Customers can quickly and easily sort lists of hotels by chain, price range, name, city or distance from the upper-left corner of the search results.

The addition of Hotel Price Matcher and the upgrade to the Hotel Wizard have quickly followed extensive upgrades throughout the site, including popular services such as Fare Compare to see low fares that other Expedia.com customers have found and Express Purchase to purchase a ticket within three clicks from the front page.

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 leads the online travel industry in sales and customer traffic. Expedia.com was the most visited online travel site for the last four months, including each month of the second quarter of calendar year 1999, according to Media Metrix, with 4.2 million visitors in July. Second-quarter sales surpassed $183 million, more than triple the sales for the same period in 1998.

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 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. Expedia.com also offers exceptional customer service, with more than 250 travel representatives and travel agents available via toll free number and e-mail 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Expedia.com is also available under Travel on http://MSN.com/ .

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, 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.

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