ResortQuest International, Inc. (NYSE: RZT), the world`s largest vacation rental property management company, today announced that Online Travel Corporation PLC (LSE: ONT) has begun actively marketing ResortQuest`s vacation rental properties to the European travel market through its industry-leading Web site, as well as its extensive network of online distribution partners.
The initiative is part of ResortQuest`s previously announced international expansion plans to pursue the vast offshore vacation travel market estimated at over $200 billion per year. Online Travel Corporation is one of the largest online travel providers in Europe with access to over 15 million users and its distribution network includes leading sites such as: Virgin Online, Expedia UK, FreeServe, BT Internet, London Telegraph`s Travel page, and many more.
“We are very excited to move ahead on our European expansion and begin to reap the benefits of our deal with Online Travel Corporation. Online Travel is the market leader in the United Kingdom with tremendous distribution across all of Europe, and our partnership will enable ResortQuest to increase our revenues without bearing the costs associated with expansion,” said David Levine, chairman, president and chief executive officer of ResortQuest. “We have enjoyed great success in bringing European vacationers to our rental properties, and we think we can dramatically expand on that success through Online Travel. We will continue to work with Online Travel and look to create a network of European vacation destinations available to our ResortQuest vacationers in the United States.”
The ResortQuest and Online Travel alliance benefits from each company`s dedication to technological development. Both companies have developed industry-leading Web sites to aid users, and also offer online travel booking opportunities. The two companies are able to offer the ResortQuest property network to Online Travel`s extensive European distribution network through an XML interface, jointly created by the companies.
“ResortQuest has created a tremendous network of world class resort destinations that we are proud to offer to the Online Travel network of vacationers”, said Tommaso Zanzotto chairman of Online Travel and former chief executive officer of Hilton International. “We continue to see great opportunities for developing a roster of properties through ResortQuest in Europe, and we look forward to a mutually-beneficial relationship that will yield cross-sales in both Europe and the United States.”
Under the terms of the strategic alliance with Online Travel, ResortQuest will receive a royalty fee based on gross revenues related to units acquired or aggregated under this program, and an exclusivity fee as well as other cross selling fees. Online Travel Corporation will retain majority ownership of the European expansion and utilize ResortQuest technology and expertise in this area. The initial terms of the alliance call for a five year agreement. As part of the terms of the agreement, ResortQuest will grant Online Travel a non-exclusive license to access all relevant proprietary technology for multi-channel sales, administration and fulfillment procedures. Online Travel will also implement a comparable version of ResortQuest`s established quality rating system for all European properties.
Online Travel is an Internet based travel technology and distribution business, providing a comprehensive range of technological solutions, travel products and ancillary travel services to ISP`s, Media and Affinity Groups and Corporate Organisations. It provides bespoke technology solutions linked to its wide product range to produce a one-stop travel service through the Internet, supported by telephone call centres for leisure and corporate clients to fulfil their travel needs. Online Travel provides a comprehensive range of travel products and ancillary travel services is both a travel agent and tour operator. Online Travel strategy focuses on low-cost routes to market with lower customer acquisition costs compared to that of a mass-market consumer brand and is focused on selected business areas. Online Travel has launched some 70 travel sites with Strategic Partners in the last 18 months and via these partner sites has access to a potential customer base to over 15 million online users. Online Travel is quoted on the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange. Additional information is available at www.onlinetravelcorporation.com
ResortQuest International, the first brand name and “real-time” online booking service (www.resortquest.com / AOL Keyword: ResortQuest) in vacation condominium and home rentals and sales, provides a one-stop resource in 50 premier resort destinations in the U.S. and Canada. ResortQuest is the world`s largest vacation rental property management company, based on a portfolio of over 20,000 vacation rental properties with a combined real estate value estimated in excess of $7.0 billion.