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Priceline Led All Online Travel Agencies In Traveler-Generated
Hotel Reviews Posted In 2009

'Guests-Only' Policy Enhances Quantity, Quality of Priceline Hotel Reviews
 

NORWALK, Conn., April 7, 2010 - Priceline.com (Nasdaq: PCLN) said today that its practice of proactively sending post-stay surveys to every Priceline hotel customer has enabled the hotel reservation service to amass more than 2.5 million hotel guest reviews.  The announcement follows the publication of PhoCusWright's Social Media In Travel: Traffic & Activity, a study of the role and impact of online social media on travel.  The study found that, during 2008 and 2009, Priceline posted more hotel reviews than any other major online travel agency (OTA) and, in 2009, accounted for approximately 50% of all hotel reviews viewable on the OTAs.  PhoCusWright www.phocuswright.com is a research firm dedicated to following trends in the travel industry.

Priceline.com attributed the industry leading posting volume to its practice of sending surveys to all hotel guests three days after their stays are completed.  "Answering an e-mail survey is so much easier and quicker than spending time searching out a website to post," said priceline.com Chief Marketing Officer Brett Keller.  "Also, we believe that reviews obtained this way tend to have more balance and better represent the overall quality and experience found at the hotel."

The study published by PhoCusWright also found that OTAs were more prolific than travel review sites in generating hotel reviews.  In the 2nd half of 2009, 74% of new hotel reviews were posted on OTAs compared to 25% on travel review sites.  More consumers also paid attention to hotel reviews on the OTAs.  The study found that 50% of all travelers cited OTA hotel reviews as being influential in their travel planning, compared to the 33% that cited travel review sites and 22% that cited social networks as being influential.

Keller said he believes that having reviews come directly from recent hotel guests helps make the content more reliable and influential.  "Allowing reviews only from actual guests eliminates the potential for 3rd parties with other motivations from entering the mix," explained Keller.  "We believe there's also a freshness benefit in asking for opinions only three days after a stay is completed."  

Here's how priceline.com's hotel review system works.  Every priceline.com hotel guest receives an e-mail survey divided into two parts.  The first part is a 1-10 scaled index (with 10 being the top score) that asks the guest to rank:

His or her overall hotel experience.
The comfort and attractiveness of the hotel.
The general location of the hotel.
The cleanliness of the hotel.
The quality of the public rooms and spaces.
The performance of the hotel staff.
Numerical ratings are aggregated to come up with average scores for each hotel and to determine where the hotel ranks among guests' favorites in a city.  At a glance, Priceline visitors can see how guests feel about the quality and service provided by a hotel.
There's also a second part in Priceline's survey where guests can write their own in-depth reviews.  Reviews are made available to priceline.com visitors in several ways.  Visitors can browse all the reviews for a specific hotel.  Or, they can choose to see only those reviews that correspond with 7 different traveler types -- solo travelers, groups, seniors, couples, families with teens, families with young children and business travelers.  This gives future hotel guests the ability to search their hotels through the eyes and experiences of like-minded travelers.  Priceline also offers exclusive hotel and restaurant ratings and reviews provided by Zagat Survey, LLC.  Priceline.com is the only major online travel service to offer Zagat reviews for its hotels.

Want to see Priceline's hotel review in action?  Here are the links to the #1 most popular hotels in 10 U.S. cities, according to Priceline hotel guest surveys:

New York City: The Ritz-Carlton New York Battery Park
Las Vegas: Palazzo Resort Hotel Casino
Boston: The Eliot Suite Hotel
Chicago: Conrad Chicago
San Francisco: Le Meridien San Francisco
San Diego: Omni San Diego
Atlanta: The Ellis Hotel
Dallas: Warwick Melrose Hotel
Miami: Mondrian South Beach, A Morgans Hotel
Washington, DC: Sofitel Lafayette Square Washington DC

Priceline also incorporates guest hotel reviews into its online Travel Guides http://travela.priceline.com/travelguides/?.  Visitors can choose from cities around the world and check out the hotels, attractions, restaurants and more.

About Priceline.com® Incorporated
Priceline.com Incorporated (Nasdaq: PCLN) www.priceline.com provides online travel services in 32 languages in over 90 countries in Europe, North America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Included in the priceline.com family of companies is Booking.com, a leading international online hotel reservation service, priceline.com, a leading U.S. online travel service for value-conscious leisure travelers, and Agoda.com, an Asian online hotel reservation service.
Priceline.com believes that Booking.com is Europe's largest and fastest growing hotel reservation service, with a network of affiliated Web sites. Booking.com operates in over 76 countries in 25 languages and offers its customers access to approximately 78,000 participating hotels worldwide.

In the U.S., priceline.com gives customers more ways to save on their airline tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars, vacation packages and cruises than any other Internet travel service. In addition to getting great published prices, leisure travelers can narrow their searches using priceline.com's TripFilter advanced search technology, customize their search activity through priceline.com's Inside Track features, create packages to save even more money, and take advantage of priceline.com's famous Name Your Own Price® service, which can deliver the lowest prices available.  Priceline.com operates the following travel websites: Travelweb.com, Lowestfare.com, RentalCars.com and BreezeNet.com. Priceline.com also licenses its business model to independent licensees.

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Contact: 

Priceline.com
http://www.priceline.com
 

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Also See: Tips for Managing Online Hotel Reviews: An Interview With TripAdvisor / Daniel Craig / March 2010
Placing the TripAdvisor Review Widget on Your Hotel Website: a Good or Bad Move? / Max Starkov and Evan Rosenblum / July 2009
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