Expedia Sells More Than 1 Million Room Nights in Less Than 3 Months

Expedia, Inc. today became the first online travel agency to announce more than one million room nights sold in less than three months.
Comparatively, it took Expedia
three years to sell its first million room nights. Since launching in October 1996, Expedia has sold a total of over 5.3 million room nights. These sales figures and the tremendous growth they represent firmly establish
Expedia as the leading lodging service on the Internet.
Richard Barton, Expedia`s president and CEO, attributes the strong lodging
momentum to two underlying factors:
* The success of Expedia`s Expert Searching and Pricing technology. Introduced in January, ESP gives travelers powerful sorting tools and the
flexibility to build their own, customized air and hotel packages at discounted prices. For suppliers, ESP increases the prominence of lodging inventory within the flight search path, providing powerful cross sell opportunities. Additionally, packages hide the prices of individual components, making it easier for suppliers to offer discounted rates while
protecting their rate integrity.
* The most extensive offering of published and negotiated rates available. Expedia offers a total of 75,000 lodging options across its
properties. From specialty lodging, such as villas, condos, vacation homes
and bed & breakfasts, to hotel lodging with discounts of up to 70 percent off
standard rates, Expedia offers an unprecedented variety of lodging prices and
choices around the world.  Consumers are increasingly coming to Expedia for
its diverse inventory and discounts available through services such as Expedia
Packages and Expedia Special Rates. With Expedia Special Rates, customers are
guaranteed the lowest prices on lodging.
“Our relationship with Expedia has been extremely beneficial in increasing
our exposure to travelers.  Expedia`s flexibility helps us find innovative ways to dramatically increase our occupancy, and their unique business model has enabled us to increase our rev par (revenue per available room),” said Shannon Barnett, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Argent Hotel, a Destination Hotels and Resorts property.  Located in the growing San Francisco South of Market neighborhood, the newly renovated, four-star Argent Hotel began working with Expedia in 1998 to drive traveler awareness of its
667 luxury suites and rooms.
The strong gains in hotel sales also indicate the strength of Expedia`s
merchant business model, in which Expedia acts as a wholesaler, negotiating net prices on inventory directly with suppliers. The business model benefits customers by giving them access to compelling deals they could not get elsewhere; it helps suppliers achieve their sales and marketing goals; and it increases gross profit per transaction for Expedia.
“Our objective over the past year has been to diversify our business to become a major seller of everything travel, including air, hotels, car rentals, vacation packages and cruises,” Barton said. “Through technology and
inventory innovations, we are accomplishing that goal.”
Recent updates in Expedia lodging will make it even easier for travelers to find the right choice. Now, a search from the home page will provide travelers with more prominent links to hotels on a map and to condos, villas and apartments (when available). The first to provide an integrated view of hotels on a map, Expedia has updated the hotel map service to show hotel
availability at a glance.