POMPANO BEACH, Fla. (December 15th, 1998) - HotelView Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Visual Data Corporation (Nasdaq: VDAT), today announced that Carlson Wagonlit Travel Associates, the country's No. 1 travel agency franchiser, is incorporating the HotelView system into its proprietary Mercavia intranet and Mercavia RS extranet Web systems, created for the use of its 7,000 leisure agents. Customers of participating Carlson Wagonlit Travel Associates (franchisees) will soon be able to preview vacation hotel accommodations while sitting across the desk from their travel agent. The new feature should be live on participating Carlson Wagonlit Travel Associates' systems by mid-December.
HotelView will allow agents and clients to view, via the Internet, two-to-four-minute video tours of any of the hotel properties in the HotelView library. Video vignettes will take potential travelers on an insider's tour of the hotel, and help travel agents serve the customer by providing greater detail and excitement than found in most Web sites or print brochures.
"We recognize the value in having HotelView's rich media content readily accessible to our associates so they can better assist our customers," says Deslie Webb, Vice President, Information Techonology of Carlson Leisure Group. "HotelView provides us with an exciting opportunity to be at the cutting edge of hotel and travel marketing."
HotelView benefits the consumer and travel agent by providing more detailed information about the hotel and the comfort of actually seeing the property firsthand. For the hotel, including a HotelView video (sight, sound and motion) reduces the hotel's cost-per-prospect expense versus traditional media, improves the credibility of the message and increases the conversion from potential customer to guest.
"This partnership with the Carlson Wagonlit Associate Program will be of great value to our member hotels because their videos will be directly accessed by the most widespread franchise travel agency organization in America," says David Chestler, General Manager of HotelView. "We believe video has proven to be much more credible and effective means of providing this type of information than print advertising. For that reason, our parent company, Visual Data, and HotelView are paving the way in Internet video advertising and soon interactive television advertising".
Hotels implementing HotelView videos include Outrigger Hotels and Resorts, participants in Carlson Wagonlit Travel Associates' Leisure Hotel Program, and other properties including Nikko Hotels International, Turnberry Isle Resort & Club in Miami, Fontainebleau Hilton in Miami, The Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Marriott Camelback Inn in Arizona, Essex House in New York, Las Dunas Beach Resort in Spain, Divi Aruba Beach Resort in Aruba, Hotel Baltschug Kempinski Moscow, Schlosshotel Vier Jahreszeiten Berlin, New Otani Kaimana Beach in Hawaii, Walt Disney World Dolphin and Swan hotels and many other resorts worldwide.
Carlson Wagonlit Travel Associates is part of Carlson Leisure Group, the global leisure and franchise travel agency arm of Carlson Companies, Inc. The companies of Carlson Leisure Group manage leisure and franchise travel operations worldwide under a variety of brand names and comprise the largest travel agency franchise organization in North America, with more than 1,300 Carlson Wagonlit Travel and Travel Agents International franchise locations. In 1998, for the second consecutive year, Carlson Wagonlit's Associate program was named the top travel business franchise by Entrepreneur Magazine and was ranked the No. 6 franchise in the U.S. by Franchise Times magazine.
HotelView Corporation is a member of the ASTA, American Hotel & Motel Association and Hotel Sales & Marketing Association International.
For more information, contact HotelView General Manager David Chestler at 954/917-6655 or toll-free 800/468-8139.
Certain statements in this press release constitute "forward looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. In particular, statements contained herein regarding expectations with respect to future sales and management's options based upon facts currently known to the company are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and contingencies, many of which are beyond the control of Visual Data Corporation, which may cause actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from anticipated results, performance or achievements. Factors that might affect such forward looking statements include, among others, overall economic and business conditions, the demand for services and products, competitive factors in the industries in which Visual Data Corporation competes and regulatory approvals.