NEW MEDIA: Microsoft plans UK online travel booking service

High street travel agents, already under pressure from direct sales firms, have been dealt another blow with the launch of a UK version of Microsoft’s online travel service. MSN Expedia is the first e-commerce service from Microsoft UK, and will be heavily advertised on and off the internet.

High street travel agents, already under pressure from direct sales

firms, have been dealt another blow with the launch of a UK version of

Microsoft’s online travel service. MSN Expedia is the first e-commerce

service from Microsoft UK, and will be heavily advertised on and off the

internet.



The site, which allows UK users to plan and book holidays online 24

hours a day, has generated pounds 100,000 worth of ticket sales in the

first week before the official launch. Its US equivalent has an annual

growth rate of 250% and average sales of dollars 7m per week.



The UK version will offer advertisers an opportunity to target ABC1

consumers who are more likely to buy on the internet. Saga Holidays,

Swiss Air and book publisher Infront have already signed up to put

banner ads on the site.



British Airways and Thomson Holidays are Expedia’s UK launch

partners.



Both brands will be heavily advertised on the site.



The site will be advertised by search engines Yahoo! and Infoseek, and

by the press and travel magazines. The site can be found at

expedia.msn.co.uk.



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