|LAS VEGAS, NV June 15, 1999 - With the help
of Captain America and Wonder Woman here today, Aaron's Travel Resource
Center officially changed its name and web site URL to TravelHero.com at
the 20th Annual Las Vegas International Hotel & Restaurant Show. The
name change includes a complete web site face-lift, with improved navigation,
better functionality and much more personality.
The redesign and name change, which has been under construction for several months, signals TravelHero.com's complete entrance into the Internet travel services market, which has been dominated by the likes of Expedia, The Trip, Preview Travel and Travelocity. "We've known for several years that our direction would move toward full-service, but we wanted to get our core competency down first, which is hotels," said Matt Johnson, CEO of TravelHero.com.
Johnson was speaking about the company's unparalleled database of lodging properties, numbering over 100,000. The database is the most comprehensive available anywhere on the Internet and includes listings in more than 17,500 cities worldwide. "Our vast database and the freedom of choice it offers to the traveling public is what makes us better than all of the other guys. The bottom line is if you need a room anywhere in the world, and a way to get there, we can do it for you," he said. Johnson went on to say that the database would grow to over 200,000 properties in 25,000 cities worldwide by the end of 1999.
The new TravelHero.com web site (http://www.travelhero.com) features four sections, or "heroes" to help visitors navigate and make travel plans.
HotelHero is the front end to the massive database of lodging properties owned by TravelHero.com. Visitors can quickly search by city and state or province, or by country with one click of the mouse. A list of properties in any city can be narrowed and refined using powerful search capabilities that allow a visitor to specify required or desired features and amenities, price range, and locale within the city. The final list of properties meeting all of the travelers' requirements can then be sorted alphabetically or bylistings with photographs. Once a traveler has selected a property, they can check availability or request a reservation and receive a confirmation number, all via an encrypted, secure server.
AirHero is TravelHero.com's interface to the airlines' Global Distribution Systems (GDS). The system allows travelers to check availability and price itineraries, book online, and select seats in real time. The system also includes an automatic low-fare finder which will notify a traveler if a far lower than their selected itinerary is available. Itineraries can be saved for future retrieval, allowing a visitor to price a trip months in advance and review prices over time to get a lower fare.
CarHero allows TravelHero.com visitors to check availability and price rental cars in all of the world's major cities. Agencies available online include Alamo, Avis, Budget, Discount, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National, Thrifty, and dozens of others. Price quotes and reservations are made and confirmed in real time through the GDS.
TourHero is the newest and most exciting addition to the TravelHero.com lineup of travel services. Visitors can view information about dozens of tours and vacations available online from several vendors, and make a reservation for those tours by using the simple TourHero interface. Current tour providers include Roads Less Traveled of Boulder, Colorado. Above The West Ballooning, and Adventures Aloft of Napa Valley. Negotiations are ongoing with several other major tour and vacation operators. Said Johnson of TourHero, "This is the first time that this sort of data has been available to the general traveling public on a full-service site. Our offerings are now more complete than any other travel site."
Johnson also noted that TravelHero.com plans to add a CruiseHero for online cruise booking in the next six months.
According to Mark Plihcik, Director of Marketing for TravelHero.com, "This is a very exciting period to be in the Internet travel business. It's starting to shake out, and consumers have more choices. They're not as easily fooled by huge marketing budgets that promote sites with thin content as they were even six months ago. Instead, they're looking for content, for the meat. We deliver that with tens of thousands, soon to be hundreds of thousands, of lodging options worldwide," he said.
By distinguishing themselves through lodging, TravelHero.com has locked up the only available distinguishing avenue, Plihcik noted. "Every travel site, including TravelHero.com, has basically the same availability information for airlines and rental cars because we all access the same data streams from the GDS," he said. "Where we shine, I mean really shine is in our lodging properties. The closest competitor has just about 45,000 listings, or less than half our database."
Randy Sittler, VP Operations for TravelHero.com says that not only is the database larger, it's more comprehensive in terms of content. "We've worked very hard to fill in the content holes that all of the other travel sites have ignored. So what we've accomplished is creation of the world's largest and fastest growing database of lodging properties-and it's free to every single hotel or lodging property in the world," he said.
At a launch ceremony held on the floor of the Las Vegas Hotel & Restaurant Show, Johnson and Plihcik unveiled the new TravelHero.com web site with the assistance of Wonder Woman (played by actress Lisa Comeaux) and Captain America (played by actor Eric Torres). "We'd like to welcome everyone here to the future of Internet travel services. Welcome to TravelHero.com," Johnson exclaimed.
|Also See:||Aaron’s Travel Resource Center launches Affiliate Program with Two California CVBs / May 1999|