SOURCE: interbed.com

August 01, 2005 14:32 ET

Hoteliers and Travelers Welcome Direct Bookings and Comparison-Shopping on No-Intermediary, Traveler-Friendly Global Hotel Information Portal

PIERREFITTE-ES-BOIS, FRANCE -- (MARKET WIRE) -- August 1, 2005 -- Hotels large and small would love to cut costs the same way airlines managed to do already several years ago, but have a poor track record of turning online travelers into paying guests. Yet profitability requires reducing reliance on agents (charging $25-$30 per booking) or the hotel's call center (costing $10 per booking) in favor of direct online booking (cost $3). Difficult-to-use and impossible-to-compare web sites frustrate Internet users seeking to book rooms online. Travelers have to trust the accuracy of the agent's or the hotel's marketing pitch, and the online booking process is often very confusing.

Interbed.com, a new global hotel information portal (www.interbed.com), offers hotels a powerful tool for increasing online bookings and improved yield management, whilst offering travelers easy comparison-shopping along with reliable "angel" and "devil" testimonials, and no-intermediary bookings directly with hotels.

When travelers select a destination, they see an easy-to-scan comparison chart showing hotel details such as number of rooms, room rates, which hotels have a restaurant, meeting rooms, Internet connection, air-conditioning, wheelchair access, swimming pool, allow pets, offer baby-sitting, and so on, testimonials where available, and contact information or direct links to the hotel. Fax or email messages are already pre-filled, and travelers simply click through, where enabled, without ever having to know the hotels' email or web site addresses.

"Travelers prefer to shop around, find and compare the best-value-for-money hotels at their destination, and want to deal with hotels directly," states Herman Thuy, founder of Interbed.com, citing a recent PhoCusWright survey finding that "more than twice as many online travelers (36%) believe that the supplier-direct channel provides the best customer service, compared to 15% who choose the online travel agency channel."

Thuy points out that the Interbed.com setup especially appeals to experienced travelers who know that booking and even prepaying a hotel room via a travel agent does not guarantee a reservation. "Too many travelers have arrived at their destination, booking reference in hand, only to find no room available for them. Well-hidden fine print lets most agents off the hook for this," he says.

Hotels worldwide can register with interbed.com in greatest detail, for free. Interbed.com does not charge any commissions or booking fees ever. A small flat annual fee enables permanent hotlinks to the hotel's sales desk, email, web site or central reservation system. Free registration provides guaranteed global online visibility and promotion for any size hotels including those without a web site.

Unlike nearly every other hotel search site, Interbed.com passes already well-informed prospects along to the hotel. Travelers can now book the room they want with the hotel they want, at the best possible price, and with a reliable booking confirmation directly from the hotel. Interbed.com is free to travelers and does not require user registration.

Adds Thuy: "With online bookings having grown to USD53 billion in the United States and EUR19.2 billion in Europe in 2004, a presence on Interbed.com is perfect for hoteliers who have long dreamed of taking back control of distribution from travel agents, and a sure-fire way to win the attention of skeptical travelers eager to find the best value for their money."

For more information visit www.interbed.com or ask for a press kit.

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