|ARLINGTON, Va., September 25, 2006-World business travelers seeking corporate housing can check out their new neighborhoods from the comfort of their computers before deciding which apartment to select, thanks to major enhancements to BridgeStreet Worldwide's Web site, www.bridgestreet.com. The enriched site features a new, state-of-the-art mapping program and multi-language portals-an industry first-including French and English versions, with plans for more languages to be added over the next few months.
BridgeStreet is the first major corporate housing provider to feature Microsoft's Virtual Earth platform, a new, interactive mapping program that gives users a bird's-eye, three-dimensional view of more than 110 metropolitain areas to help them select their temporary residences and neighborhoods while on extended assignment.
"We are delighted that BridgeStreet has chosen the Virtual Earth platform to support its online offerings," said Stephen Lawler, general manager of the Virtual Earth Business Unit at Microsoft Corp. "Our mapping and satellite features will give BridgeStreet customers an immersive experience when remotely exploring for corporate housing."
The leading-edge program significantly improves upon the more conventional road map programs available online in the industry. With Virtual Earth platform, visitors to BridgeStreet's Web site can take a virtual stroll around an area to find a neighborhood they like, including locating the nearest grocery story and the local Starbuck's.
"Our clients are sophisticated users of the Internet and have come to rely on it as a one-stop resource for help with their travel plans, whether its booking, mapping, shopping, or finding local points of interest," said Lee Curtis, BridgeStreet president. "The enhancement of our Web site with greater mapping functionality, interactivity, and multiple languages, allows us to respond to our clients' needs and underscores our commitment to being the easiest corporate housing provider to do business with.
"With the new Microsoft Virtual Earth platform, we now provide best-in-class mapping support. For the first time, our site will offer the kind of interactivity our guests say they need and want most-the ability to search for and overlay point of interest data surrounding a property, using pushpin POI overlays. And they can do this on the fly with a program that provides the kind of ease and functionality that helps them find perfect-fit accommodations for their next trip," said Jon Wohlfert, BridgeStreet, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing.
"Being the first major corporate housing provider to offer a multilingual Web site also gives us a distinct edge over our competitors. The addition of multiple languages reflects our continued growth overseas, and the large number of our clients that are multi-national corporations."
Wohlfert noted that the response to these enhancements from BridgeStreet's clients has been very positive, as evidenced by the increased number of minutes spent per visit at the company's site. "We also have seen a measurable increase in reservations transactions since their introduction. And we're anticipating even greater increases in volume as our current and new clients become more familiar with the improvements."
BridgeStreet Worldwide, a subsidiary of Interstate Hotels & Resorts (NYSE: IHR), is one of the world's largest corporate housing providers. BridgeStreet and its network of Global Partners offer more than 10,000 corporate apartments located in more than 100 MSAs throughout the United States and internationally. BridgeStreet properties meet uncompromising standards of quality, comfort and service. For more information about the company or to learn more about how BridgeStreet is Making Corporate Housing Easy, visit www.bridgestreet.com or call 1-800-BSTREET.
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This press release contains "forward-looking statements," within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, about Interstate Hotels & Resorts, including those statements regarding future operating results and the timing and composition of revenues, among others, and statements containing words such as "expects," "believes" or "will," which indicate that those statements are forward-looking. Except for historical information, the matters discussed in this press release are forward-looking statements that are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause the actual results to differ materially, including changes in the national economy, economic conditions generally and the real estate market specifically, the threat of future terrorist attacks, governmental actions, legislative and regulatory changes, availability of debt and equity capital, interest rates, competition, supply and demand for lodging facilities in our current and proposed market areas, and the company's ability to manage integration and growth. Additional risks are discussed in Interstate Hotels & Resorts' filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including Interstate Hotels & Resorts annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2005.