Smith, The Bench plan joint venture

Smith Travel
Research and The
Bench have announced the
merger of their hotel performance tracking programs to provide the hotel
industry with global benchmarking data.Performance metrics will be
available on a daily, weekly and monthly basis and will cover all global
destinations.

Comments Randy Smith, owner and co-founder of STR: “We are excited to
bring STR’s trusted benchmarking expertise together with The Bench’s
proven technology and fresh concepts to provide a true one-stop shop for
global hotel data. The global hotel market poses unique challenges to
hotel companies, owners and managers. Our association with The Bench will
enable us to provide a global lodging benchmarking solution. We look
forward to providing our clients the common reporting platform they have
requested aiding all levels of hotel operators around the globe.”

Jonathan Worsley, Chairman and co-owner of The Bench, added: “From Beijing
to Berlin, our online daily benchmarking solution has received exceptional
reviews from hotel operators.  It only makes sense to combine our
intuitive web interface at www.thebench.com with the reporting power and
expertise of STR.  There is a real need within the industry to provide a
global solution to hotel benchmarking data and we are delighted to now
offer such a product by combining forces with STR.” Jamie Chappell,
Managing Director of The Bench continued: “Our combined capabilities will
allow us to build participation in new cities and bolster existing markets
which will assist hoteliers in making sound business decisions that will
ultimately help them become more profitable.”

STR will purchase a significant minority stake in The Bench, which will
modify its name to incorporate the association with STR. STR and The Bench
will continue to service clients under their existing contracts.  A joint
marketing and sales effort will be launched to promote awareness of the
new venture and build participation. In addition to lending sales support,
STR will coordinate the adoption of its data processing procedures
throughout The Bench global reports.  STR will maintain offices in
Hendersonville, TN and The Bench will continue operations in London with
sales offices in Asia Pacific and throughout Europe.
——-