BEIJING and BELLEVUE, Wash., May 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — eLong, Inc. (NASDAQ: LONG), one of China’s leading online travel companies, and Expedia, Inc. (NASDAQ: EXPE), the world’s leading online travel company, today announced that eLong has launched a 360-degree hotel virtual tour capability and a dramatically expanded international hotel offering on its site, http://elong.com/ . These advancements draw on the global reach and technology platform of Expedia, which owns 52 percent of eLong.
“Outbound tourism is the fastest growing sector of the Chinese travel industry*,” said Tom SooHoo, CEO of eLong. “This dramatic expansion of our international hotel offering represents a landmark in the history of the Chinese travel industry. Never before have Chinese consumers had access to such a powerful Chinese-language resource to help them plan travel outside China.”
Strong partnership between Expedia and eLong
Expedia Inc. was the first global online travel company to enter China’s online travel market when it invested in eLong in 2004.
“These innovations show how eLong and Expedia are working together to bring the power of online travel to Chinese consumers,” said Barney Harford, president of Expedia Asia Pacific. “Expedia is working closely with eLong to leverage the power of Expedia’s global platform while remaining laser-focused on the needs of the Chinese consumer.”
Virtual hotel tours
eLong’s 360-degree virtual tours bring evocative, rotating images of hotel rooms and facilities to travelers, allowing them to see the hotels they are considering before they book, giving them greater confidence in their choice. 360-degree virtual tours are available on eLong.com for both domestic Chinese and international hotels.
“The launch of 360-degree virtual tours on eLong.com allows Chinese consumers to visualize a hotel’s rooms and facilities before they book,” said SooHoo. “This functionality harnesses the power of the Web to put the consumer firmly in control when they are choosing a hotel.”
“Consumers can now visit eLong.com for a virtual visit to famous hotels in cities around the world,” continued SooHoo. “They can experience the luxury of a Las Vegas penthouse suite with views across the city, or the romance of a Rome roof-top terrace with views across the ancient Piazza della Republica.”
eLong’s expanded international hotel offering makes hotels in over 140 destinations worldwide available to Chinese consumers. The eLong.com Web site now features detailed information about these hotels, including Chinese language hotel and room type descriptions, photographs, virtual tours and floor plans. Bookings can be made online through eLong’s Web site or by telephone.
Inventory is being sourced in partnership with Expedia, which has a global supply network of 350 market managers based in 28 cities around the world, representing annual demand of more than 30 million room nights. This sourcing partnership allows eLong to harness Expedia’s scale and global market presence to secure highly competitive offerings on behalf of Chinese consumers.
Note to media:
Screen shots of the enhanced site are available from eLong at http://www.elong.net/screenshots.
About eLong, Inc.
eLong, Inc. is a leading online travel company in China. Headquartered in Beijing, eLong has a national presence across China. eLong uses web-based distribution technologies and a 24-hour nationwide call center to provide consumers with the travel reservation services. eLong operates the websites http://elong.com/ and http://elong.net/ .
About Expedia, Inc.
Expedia, Inc. is the world’s leading online travel company, empowering business and leisure travelers with the tools and information they need to easily research, plan, book, and experience travel. Expedia, Inc. also provides wholesale travel to offline retail travel agents. Expedia, Inc.’s portfolio of brands include: Expedia.com®, hotels.com®, Hotwire®, Expedia® Corporate Travel, TripAdvisor™ and Classic Vacations®. Expedia, Inc.’s companies also operate internationally with sites in Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Australia, and China, through its investment in eLong™. For more information, visit http://www.expediainc.com/ .
NOTE: Expedia, Expedia.com and the Airplane logo are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Expedia, Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. Other product and company names mentioned herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.
* Source: WTTC China Report, 2006
SOURCE: Expedia, Inc.
CONTACT: David Dennis of Expedia, Inc., +1-425-679-4317, or
email@example.com; or Raymond Huang of eLong, Inc., +86-10-5860-2288, ext.
6633, or firstname.lastname@example.org</br/></br/>
Web site: http://elong.com/
Web site: http://www.expedia.com/