Hotel Online  Special Report



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After Seeing Tremendous Response to Pilot Online
Videos, W Hotels Partners with VFM Interactive
to Add Online Video Tours to All its Properties

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TORONTO, CANADA, February 25, 2005 – VFM Interactive, the leader of rich media production and distribution for the travel industry, is partnering with W Hotels to roll out online video tours for all its properties worldwide after seeing impressive statistics on a pilot video project.

The decision came following an initial trial that saw the development of videos for a few of the company’s properties. During the trial period, statistics showed that videos had been viewed an average of 2,100 times per month by online travel consumers. The video was watched both on the W brand sites and on 3rd party sites. In some cases, as much as 40% of the monthly views came from 3rd party sites such as Travelocity and TripAdvisor, demonstrating the importance of effective distribution.

Paolo Boni, President and CEO of VFM Interactive, is very pleased at W Hotel’s decision to move forward with rich media for all its properties.  “There’s no question that video is a powerful branding tool,” explains Boni.  “Travel is experiential. Using full-motion video supported by high production values and music allows you to communicate the full experience of a hotel brand far better than simple photographs can do.”

The W Hotel viewing statistics strongly demonstrate that consumers are researching and booking travel in a number of ways online. While some consumers may head directly to the brand site, many will only come across the video on 3rd party sites. VFM’s distribution network consisting of more than 5,000 travel sites such as Travelocity, Orbitz and TripAdvisor, ensures that a hotel’s brand stands out and is strengthened across the internet.

Completed W Hotels can be viewed on the W website at whotels.com

About W Hotels

The first W Hotel opened in New York December 1998. There are now five hotels in New York City and 20 hotels brand-wide and abroad. Recent openings include W's first property in Latin America, W Mexico City, which opened in December of 2003, W's first property in Asia, W Seoul - Walkerhill, which opened in August of 2004 and its first property in Canada, W Montreal, in October of 2004. Residence properties have been announced for Dallas, Fort Lauderdale, Scottsdale and Hoboken. In addition, there are more than a dozen W Hotels in the development pipeline in city and resort destinations around the world.

About VFM Interactive

VFM Interactive is the leading producer and distributor of rich media content for the lodging and travel industry. With a focus on distribution strategy, VFM produces a variety of multimedia content including video and 360° images and distributes this content to its clients’ websites as well as its network of partner online travel agencies including Travelocity, Orbitz, Travelweb, TripAdvisor and thousands of others. Through effective distribution and flawless on-demand streaming, VFM helps clients maximize their presence on the web, turning consumer research into revenue by offering travel consumers the ability to visualize their travel purchase. VFM provides content distribution services for more than 1,000 individual hotels and resorts from brands and management companies such as Choice, Crowne Plaza, Hilton, Holiday Inn, Interstate, Marriott, MGM, Outrigger, Radisson, Regent, Sheraton, W, Westin, and Wyndham properties.


 
Contact:
VFM Interactive
Debra Sharp
Director of Communications
416-593-6634
debra.sharp@vfmii.com
Website: www.vfmii.com
Also See: VFM Interactive releases PhotoFlicks®; Innovative Rich Media Turns Still Photographs into Audio-enhanced Slide Shows to Increase Hotel Bookings Online / November 2004
Vantis Partners with VFM Interactive to offer Hotel Clients Rich Media Solutions / October 2004
Rich Content Such as Internet Videos, Virtual Tours and Flash Presentations Significantly Impact the Buying Decision of Consumers Researching and Booking Hotels Online / December 2003
Online Rich Content Is an Important Branding Asset as Well as a Compelling Marketing Tool for Hotel Franchisees to Drive Revenues Through All Online Channels, Both Direct and Indirect / January 2004


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