MSN Expedia Signs Deals With Hotel, Travel Firms

Microsoft Corp.’s MSN Expedia travel service signed marketing agreements with Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Hyatt Hotels and Resorts and Travelscape.com.

Microsoft said the deals position MSN Expedia as a one-stop travel marketplace. The hotel companies will have direct links from the MSN Expedia home page to their respective Web sites, special hotel offers in the MSN Expedia “Deals” section and other co-marketing opportunities. Financial arrangements were not disclosed.

“These agreements, along with our more than four months of sold-out ad inventory, clearly illustrate the value of MSN Expedia and its leadership in the industry,” said Erik Blachford, director of advertising at MSN Expedia. “We attribute these agreements to the high caliber of the more than 5 million customers visiting MSN Expedia monthly.”

Travelscape.com is one reportedly of the top five travel wholesalers for Nevada and the top producer of online room nights in Las Vegas.

“As we looked to expand our reach and brand awareness, MSN Expedia was an obvious choice,” said Tim Poster, CEO of Travelscape.com.

The MSN Expedia agreement with Starwood, one of the world’s largest hotel operating companies with such brands as Sheraton, Westin, Four Points, Caesars, W Hotels and Luxury Collection and St. Regis Hotels goes beyond an advertising relationship to include co-marketing opportunities such as joint travel promotions and joint advertising.

As part of the agreement, Starwood will become a member of the MSN Expedia Associates Program, allowing customers to book airline and car reservations directly from Starwood sites through the MSN Expedia co-branded booking engine.

The Hyatt deal was previously announced.

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