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Family Travel Section Debuts on MSN Expedia

"Ultimate Family Vacation" Contest Launches With Extensive Prize Lineup

REDMOND, Wash. - July 7, 1999 - Millions of parents now have the tools to make their family travel planning easier as MSN™ Expedia® travel service (http://expedia.com/) today unveiled its new Family Travel section. The new section contains news, expert advice, special vacation packages, and links to resources specifically designed to make planning family trips more convenient and enjoyable.

Following on the success of its recently introduced Business Travel section, the Expedia Family Travel section responds to the needs of one of the fastest-growing travel audiences. Tips on keeping children (and parents) happy, "kid-friendly" destinations and attractions, great deals and valuable information for in-depth planning will be central resources in the new section.

"There's tremendous demand in our industry for targeted family travel resources," said Erik Blachford, director of marketing, MSN Expedia. "The Travel Industry Association of America estimates that family vacations make up 70 percent of all leisure travel. This new section is designed to provide useful and actionable information and offers for the large number of families using the Internet for travel."

Family Travel Section Contents

The Family Travel section includes timely information and tools, including the following:

  • "Taking the Kids" is a weekly column by syndicated travel writer Eileen Ogintz, with tips and tricks for traveling with the family. An archive of the best of the "Taking the Kids" articles will also be available.
  • Airport Survival Guide profiles 20 major North American airports with great tips on keeping the kids amused.
  • Family Travel Deals includes "family-friendly" travel deals offered by a wide variety of travel companies.
  • Driving Directions help travelers avoid those navigational family squabbles by providing them with detailed city-to-city directions.
  • Family Resources and Tools includes travel news, expert advice and links to family travel and theme park forums.
  • From the Bookshelf features family travel books as recommended by Barnes & Noble, including a brief description and a link to purchase.

These features build on several "family-oriented" aspects MSN Expedia already offers, including display of special fares for kids 2-11; the ability to book a flight with or without a seat for an infant; hotel listings for child care, babysitting, cribs and rollaway beds; and the ability to get an infant or toddler seat with a rental car.

For more information on family travel and other great travel experiences found on Expedia, travelers can also tune in to the recently launched Expedia Radio program, heard on leading stations in Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia and Seattle.

Ultimate Family Vacation Contest

To celebrate this new section, MSN Expedia is sponsoring the "Ultimate Family Vacation" contest, in which kids 7-13 can submit brief essays on their ultimate family travel idea to Expedia (http://expedia.com/daily/family/). The first 500 entrants will receive a Fuji disposable camera. Weekly winners will each win Fuji digital cameras, a backpack courtesy of eBags, Home Publishing Suite software from Microsoft Corp., and have their essay published on the Web site - as well as being given a chance to compete for the grand prize, an Adventure Family Vacation. The contest runs from July 7, 1999, through Sept. 1, 1999; full details and official rules can be found at http://expedia.com/.

About MSN Expedia Travel

MSN Expedia (http://expedia.com/) is the leading place to go on the Web to find the right trip at the right price. People can book air, car and hotel reservations as well as find vacations, cruises, and other travel options. Along with booking travel, MSN Expedia helps people plan their trips with in-depth destination information, travel news and mapping services.

MSN Expedia leads the online travel industry in sales and customer traffic, with weekly travel sales currently exceeding $16 million and customer traffic exceeding 3.9 million people (Media Metrix, May 1999). MSN Expedia has also been recognized as the top online travel site by such prestigious publications as PC Magazine, PC World, PC Computing, Macworld, Computerworld, and Brill's Content.

A credit card guarantee is offered on MSN Expedia (U.S. and Canadian versions only) to protect credit cards used on the Internet from fraud. With this service, after customers use their credit cards for an initial purchase on MSN Expedia, the cards are protected from fraud liability - up to $50 (U.S.) - on any purchases made in the subsequent 12 months on or off the Internet. Since the program's introduction in June 1998, Microsoft is proud to state that, because of the top-level site security, the service remains unused.

MSN Expedia also offers exceptional customer service, with more than 250 travel representatives and agents available via toll-free number and e-mail to answer questions and provide assistance to travelers 24 hours a day, seven days a week while they are en route.

 

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