Expedia and Hotels.com Launch Direct Connect Technology

23rd Nov 2004

Expedia, Inc.
and Hotels.com
have launched the next phase of implementation for their pioneering
direct connect technology, which currently saves more than a thousand
hotel properties time and money by enabling the automatic delivery of
bookings made on the two travel sites. The second phase will enable
hoteliers to manage the room inventory they offer on Expedia.com(R)
directly from the hotel’s central reservation systems (CRS), eliminating
the need to manually update the Expedia(R) extranet.

The second phase roll-out of direct connect demonstrates Expedia’s
momentum in developing this proprietary technology, which will provide
hotels with a streamlined system for managing rates and inventory, as well
as the opportunity to optimize bookings in a more cost-effective
environment. The technology was designed from the ground up to serve the
unique needs of the hotel industry.

Earlier this year Expedia and Hotels.com began the first phase of
deploying direct connect with participating hotels, which automated the
delivery of bookings, thereby reducing labor costs. The second phase of
the deployment, now underway, will give hotel partners the ability to
automatically push to Expedia real-time availability, rates, and inventory
information, thus enabling two-way communications between the different
systems. In addition, reservations made on Expedia will be booked directly
within a property’s on-site system through the chain’s CRS. This phase
will also save hotels significant time and money by eliminating the need
for loading rates manually into an extranet system.

Hyatt Hotels will be the first partner to have completed the two-way
direct connectivity. The technology is being rolled out systematically
across the Hyatt network and will be completed this month.

“Hyatt has always focused on the best interests of our hotels and that
includes helping them cut costs and improve efficiencies as they work with
distribution partners, such as Expedia and Hotels.com,” said Joan Lowell,
vice-president electronic distribution, Hyatt Hotels Corp. “This direct
two- way connectivity provides flexible rate deployment, eliminates manual
labor and, equally important, provides our hotels with the opportunity to
revenue manage the rates and availability on Expedia.com.”


“Expedia and Hotels.com realized that, to remain competitive, our hotel
partners needed a flexible system that could cut distribution costs and
increase marketing efficiency,” said Spencer Rascoff, vice president of
lodging of Expedia and Hotels.com. “Rather than trying to adapt systems
built for other travel segments, such as the airlines, we developed a
hotel-friendly technology that saves time and money, while safeguarding
the customer shopping experience. We look forward to building on this
momentum as direct connectivity continues to pay dividends for Hyatt and
our other hotel partners.”

In addition to Hyatt Hotels Corp, the two leading travel sites currently
have one-way direct connections with about a dozen other chains,
comprising more than a thousand hotel properties. Implementations with
several thousand additional hotels are slated in the coming months, making
Expedia and Hotels.com’s direct connect program the fastest-growing in
the industry. Recently, Expedia and Hotels.com announced plans to develop
two-way direct connections with Omni Hotels, Prime Hospitality Corp,
Outrigger Hotels & Resorts and Ohana Hotels & Resorts, La Quinta, Noble
House Hotels & Resorts, and Destination Hotels & Resorts.

Following its 2002 acquisition of Newtrade Technologies, Expedia has
worked closely with its hotel partners to meet their needs by developing
this technology. Expedia’s direct connect platform also maintains a
superior customer experience by funneling search requests through
Expedia.com and Hotels.com rather than repeatedly querying a hotelier’s
system. This enables customers to continue receiving accurate search
results quickly and efficiently.

Today’s announcement showcases the growing success of this initiative to
build direct connections with both independent hotels and chains of any
size. Expedia and Hotels.com offer this technology at no cost to


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