October 4th, 1996
Expedia makes it easy to search from available options for your leisure travel. You can download the beta from http://beta.travel.msn.com/pub/betawiz.dll
"With Expedia you are in control. Expedia automatically finds the cheapest fares around the day and time that you request," said Soraya Bittencourt, Expedia group program manager.
Mary Ord, Expedia producer and managing editor: "The content provides the stepping stones that convert interest into action "
Expedia Helps You Get the Best Deals on Leisure Travel
Microsoft Broadens Its Web-Based Travel Offerings
Going on vacation is a great feeling, but leisure travelers have always been left a little frustrated knowing that they might have saved some money if they'd had a convenient way to find the best fares and schedules, then choose from all the available options. With this week's beta release of Microsoft Expedia travel services, you can now have that capability.
Expedia is a free service that will be available to all Internet users on the World Wide Web and MSN later this month. To access the beta, point your browser to http://beta.travel.msn.com/pub/betawiz.dll and follow the instructions on the page.
While Expedia is designed to accommodate small businesses as well as leisure travelers, Microsoft employees should only use Expedia for leisure travel.
When the final product is released on the Web later this month, Expedia will round out the Travel Products Group's online travel offerings. In July the group announced an agreement with American Express to develop an online booking system for corporate travel. The group also publishes Mungo Park, the adventure travel Magazine located at http://mungopark.msn.com
Search for Best Fares and Travel Options
Expedia's Travel Agent taps into the same reservation system used by professional travel agents to access information from leading airlines, hotels, and car rental companies. The product displays all options and up-to the-minute price and availability information in easy-to-understand language.
Expedia uses wizards to guide you through the research, reservation, and purchase process. Because Expedia is a Web-based service, it's available around the clock.
"With Expedia you are in control. Expedia automatically finds the cheapest fares around the day and time that you request," said Soraya Bittencourt, Expedia group program manager. "You can compare and contrast fares and schedules and decide what's best for you. You can also feel confident that you've made a good decision because you've seen all the available options."
Users can monitor great deals using the product's Fare Tracker, a free e-mail service that provides updates on the best fares between destinations that Expedia users select.
When users want to purchase a ticket or make a reservation, Expedia asks for their credit card number. Tickets are mailed either by first-class mail or express mail, depending on when the reservation was made and the date of departure.
The Travel Products Group maintains a staff of experienced travel agents available around the clock for customers who have questions or problems while they travel.
Comprehensive Source of Travel Information
In addition to helping book your travel, Expedia includes information to help you decide where to go and what to do once you get there. The Expedia World Guide includes information on more than 330 destinations worldwide, including photos and maps. The guide includes tips for planning your trip, plus information on the history, geography, and attractions of your destination.
"Information in the World Guide's 15,000+ articles, details in our 25,000+ hotel directory, advice from our forums, tips from our news briefs, and insights from Surround Videos arm Expedia customers for travel success," said Mary Ord, Expedia producer and managing editor. "The content provides the stepping stones that convert interest into action "
Action is important because the Expedia business model is based on transactions: each time people purchase their travel through Expedia, Microsoft makes money. A secondary revenue stream is through advertising, in the form of both banners throughout the product and listings in the Expedia Hotel Directory.
Early next year, the Travel Products Group will begin an internal beta test of its corporate travel product now being developed with American Express. Code-named Rome, the product is based on the same Microsoft Travel Technologies that power Expedia but will be specifically tailored to help companies manage their business travel processes using corporate intranets.
In doing so, the product will offer companies substantial savings and content. That's a big deal-travel costs often rank as one of the top five controllable expenses in a company, and corporate America spends an estimated $145 billion each year on travel-related expenses.
As corporate travelers reserve and purchase tickets from their PCs and laptops, Rome will allow companies to capture travel data critical to managing expenses. In addition, corporations can include their negotiated fares and rates, plus travel policy guidelines, into the system. Expedia makes it easy to search from available options of your leisure travel.