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News for the Hospitality Executive

Starwood Caribbean Resorts Join Passport Online’s
ResortPort™ Program
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Content Now Available on Thousands of Agency Websites
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BEAVERTON, OR: November 18, 2008 — The 7 properties that comprise the Starwood Hotels & Resorts Caribbean portfolio have connected their rich content to thousands of travel agency consumer facing websites through ResortPort — the newest product from Passport Online, Inc.

Starwood Caribbean follows the inclusion of the 12 properties in the Starwood Hawaii portfolio which debuted in the ResortPort system in September. Since that time, the content of those properties has been populated on thousands of sites and viewership numbers continue to rise monthly. A product demonstration and content examples can be viewed at www.getresortport.com

“We are thrilled to see the customers of our travel agency partners respond positively to the new resort content,” said Randy Goodrich, senior vice president of Passport Online  Inc. “On any given day in the month of November, we have seen between 5,000 and 9,000 consumers viewing the Hawaii content on their agency’s website. The top 20 agency participants are showing strong results in package offers, individual resort views and specific Hawaii resort offers.” 

For Starwood Caribbean, the ability to provide rich media content to their travel agency partners was essential in today’s shopping environment. “We know how important the travel agency marketplace is to the hospitality industry, and we want to be where they need us to be. Including our content on their websites helps us tell our story to their customers and helps them present a robust shopping environment for their customers,” said Tim Rector, area vice president, sales & marketing for Starwood Caribbean. 

Passport Online is the leading provider of e-commerce solutions to leisure travel agents. In addition to websites, email programs targeting over 700,000 high-ADR consumers, and other tools, Passport provides the updated content from major travel industry suppliers to more than 10,000 consumer facing websites. ResortPort extends that opportunity to the hotel and resort community. 

Currently, well over 1 million unique consumers each month are shopping for their next vacation on a website with content powered by Passport Online. Properties will be presented to consumers in a number of ways on travel agency websites, including in their own dedicated online presentation and in relevant tour operator and wholesaler offers. 

Through ResortPort, properties can: 

  • Ensure consistent brand messaging to both consumers and travel agents in the travel agency sales channel 
  • Connect their rich media to thousands of travel agency websites 
  • Ensure that rich media, messaging, and promotions can be viewed by, and influence the purchase decisions of millions of higher-yield clients whenever they are shopping their agent’s website 
  • Stand out on a travel agency website and in wholesaler and tour operator offers 
  • Increase bookings with higher ADRs generated by the travel agency channel 
According to Passport user statistics, consumer views of offers on travel agency websites have risen by six million in just the last five years. With more than 7.2 million offers viewed on Passport generated websites in 2007, that number is expected to continue to rise in double digits each year. Increasingly, consumers are shopping their agent’s sites, but still calling or coming in to book, desiring that personal connection to their trusted travel professional. Recent studies by PhoCusWright and eMarketer indicate a consumer shift from online travel agencies to traditional travel agents. Sales of hotels and tours through traditional travel agents are forecasted to grow from $13.3 billion to $17.2 billion. 

For travel agencies to participate in ResortPort, they need to subscribe to either the NexCite or VacationPort products offered by Passport Online. ResortPort is included with  NexCite and VacationPort at no extra charge to agencies. For further information, agents can go to www.passportonlineinc.com

For hoteliers interested in accessing these thousands of websites and millions of unique travel agency consumers, contact Randy Goodrich at randyg@passportonlineinc.com

About Starwood Caribbean: 
Starwood Caribbean Resorts include 7 premier properties under the recognized brands that include St. Regis (2009), Sheraton, Four Points By Sheraton, The Luxury Collection, Westin and W Hotels. Each of the hotels and resorts offer a host of activities, dining and entertainment options, children's programs, fitness facilities, and meeting/function spaces. 

About Passport Online: 
Passport Online is a leading supplier of Internet tools that help the leisure travel industry reach the travel agency consumer. Millions of unique travel agency consumers used Passport Online's shopping engine on travel agency websites to search for their next vacation experience. Each day, unique consumers are on those sites, seeking the product advice and opportunities offered by their trusted travel agent. Passport Online's key products are VacationPort and NexCite. Passport Online also offers complete email design and delivery services that integrate with the VacationPort and NexCite systems. 

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Contact:

Greg Kott, 
President and CEO of Passport Online, Inc.
Phone: (503) 626-7766, Ext. 3020 
Email: gregk@passportonlineinc.com
 

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Also See: Starwood Hawaii Resorts First To Appear in New ResortPort™ Program; Starwood Hawaii Content Now Available on Thousands of Agency Websites Reaching Millions of Consumers / September 2008
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