Expedia.com Breaks New Ground in Lodging

With the introduction of new Expedia® Special Rates, travelers who used to have to call to haggle over hotel room rates can now rest easy when they book their hotel stays through the award-winning Expedia.com? travel service (http://www.expedia.com/). These new hotel rates arrive as part of a site redesign that makes the site cleaner, introduces new navigation to help consumers get the best out of online travel planning, and rolls out comprehensive cruise ship reviews.

The Expedia Special Rates provide discounts of up to 70 percent off standard rates at nearly 1,500 hotels in 240 cities and complement the variety of regular rates in the existing Expedia hotel directory of nearly 50,000 properties around the world. As a result, for the first time, Expedia, Inc. (Nasdaq: EXPE) offers customers a full array of hotel choices on a single screen.

“Our customers tell us that the difference between a good trip and a great trip is almost always tied to the quality and price of accommodations, so Expedia has taken the guesswork out of hotel booking,” said Richard Barton, Expedia CEO. “Our new hotel service offers customers an unprecedented variety of lodging prices and choices around the world. We’re looking forward to helping more people find and book the accommodations that make for great trips.”

The Web’s Most Useful Lodging Service

Enhancements to the Expedia.com accommodations service include:
Expedia Special Rates—At nearly 1,500 hotels in 240 cities, Expedia has negotiated special discounted rates on behalf of Expedia.com customers. Within the Expedia Hotel Wizard, these rates are clearly marked as Expedia Special Rates.


Wide-Area Availability—Customers searching for a hotel can now select the destination and dates and subsequently see a list of hotels’ availability for those given dates without having to check the individual hotel’s availability.

Hotel photos and details—To give consumers a comprehensive picture of what a property has to offer, Expedia now incorporates photos and amenities from hotels, including photos of rooms, dining facilities, and hotel grounds.

Automatically Generated Maps—When a customer books hotel and air or multiple hotels on the same itinerary, Expedia intelligently generates point-to-point driving directions from the airport to the hotel or between hotels and adds those directions to customers’ itineraries.
A Smarter, Easier Expedia.com

To maintain its reputation and status as the Best Overall Online Travel Site (Yahoo! Internet Life, PC World and Gomez Advisors), Expedia.com continually obtains feedback from customers and, based on that feedback, has improved its look, feel, and functionality. Now more intuitive and easier to use, Expedia has adopted a tab-based navigation that helps customers more easily access the primary travel services from anywhere within the site. These services include flights, cars, hotels, vacations, cruises, destinations & interests, and maps. Customers can also now search for air, hotel and car directly from the home page with Express Search.

Additional Updates

Along with creating the best lodging shop on the Web and dramatically improving the customer experience through a tab navigation and Express Search, Expedia has introduced several other key additions and improvements to the site.
Express Search—This updated search combines speed and ease-of-use by allowing customers to search for Flights, Hotels, and Cars-directly from the home page. Express Search also allows customers searching for flights to choose between specific or flexible dates for their flights and, if flexible, enables them to see the airlines’ lowest published fares and the dates when those popular fares are valid and available.

Traveler Tools-In addition to providing booking for air, car, and hotel, Expedia features many additional services to help customers during their travels. This site update surfaces some of the most popular of these services, such as airport guides, mileage tracking, weather, and flight status information, to the top-level pages throughout the site.

Cruise Reviews-Customers interested in planning a cruise can read comprehensive reviews on more than 250 commercially available ships from cruise expert Douglas Ward, including detailed information about ship ratings, dimensions, target audience, food, accessibility and general cruising locations.

About Expedia, Inc.

Expedia, Inc. (Nasdaq: EXPE) operates Expedia.com, a leading online Web site in the United States with localized versions for travelers in Canada, Germany, and the United Kingdom. To help customers Travel Right, Expedia.com provides the best combination of air, car and hotel booking, vacation package and cruise offers, destination information, and point-to-point mapping. Industry experts agree. Expedia’s quality and leadership was recently recognized through several awards, including Yahoo! Internet Life’s “Best Overall Travel Site”, Gomez Advisors’ “Number One Travel Site for Spring 2000,” and PC World’s 2000 World Class Award for Best Travel Site.

Expedia.com customers are supported by credit card guarantee (U.S. site only), privacy policy, and live agents via e-mail and an 800-number available 24 hours a day/seven days a week. Expedia.com is also available under Travel on the MSN? network of Internet services.