|DENVER, April 29, 2002--BridgeStreet Corporate Housing Worldwide, a leading provider of global corporate housing, recently announced the industry's first licensing program at the Association of Interim Housing Providers annual conference here.
Called Global Partner Licensing Program, it enables regional corporate housing providers to increase revenues and expand customer bases through BridgeStreet's proprietary worldwide marketing and operating support programs. Licensees will be able to expand their local market share with access to BridgeStreet's national and international customer base. In addition, the program gives licensees the opportunity to gain outbound business by offering BridgeStreet's extensive Global Housing Network to their existing and future accounts. The program also will generate leads from other participating licensees who utilize BridgeStreet's international online reservation system. The exclusive reservation system, available for the first time in the industry, contains complete property descriptions, photographs and online booking capabilities.
Other exclusive Global Partner Licensing Program tools include BridgeNet, the company's intranet site that enhances marketing, training and communications. Licensees can tap into pricing formulas, sales training programs, frequent flyer loyalty programs, budget models, employee incentive programs, mystery shopper programs, telephone billing solutions and key business indicators, such as forecasting and occupancy tests.
"Global Partner Licensing Program creates an opportunity for all involved parties to benefit," said Thomas Vincent, BridgeStreet president. "Guests benefit with BridgeStreet's guaranteed product and service levels, licensee partners gain uptapped revenue opportunities and increased market share, and we win by developing new partnerships and expanding our global presence. Our regional partners/licensees can access all the tools that only a major, global organization can provide."
According to Angela Williams, director of operations for Seattle-based Executive Residence, "This goes well beyond BridgeStreet's previous network partner program, in which we have participated since its inception in 1998. The BridgeStreet brand name is synonymous with quality, and I look forward to enjoying the benefits of this new national licensing program and the increased national exposure it will generate." Executive Residence has provided corporate housing in the local Seattle market and the neighboring Puget Sound area for 15 years.
The Global Partner Licensing Program also offers a substantial number of operating advantages. Licensees can lower operating costs through access to the greater purchasing power of BridgeStreet and their parent company, MeriStar Hotels & Resorts. Licensees can take advantage of negotiated national furniture rental packages, houseware and long-distance products, as well as other services. Program participants also can receive significant revenue generating opportunities through cross-selling with other licensees and through the company's more than 1,000 hotel sales executives for more than 275 hotels and resorts nationwide.
Currently, the licensing program is available in virtually every corporate destination city in the United States and is slated to be available in all 50 states pending regulatory approval.
BridgeStreet has named Ricki Kleist as director of sales to oversee the new program. "This program is all about relationships, and Ricki's 20 years of experience in managing major corporate strategic partnerships will play a key role in expanding the program," said Vincent. "Her expertise in Internet marketing will help us continue developing new digital technologies to enable business travelers make quicker, more informed decisions regarding corporate housing accommodations.
For more information about BridgeStreet's new licensing program, contact Ricki Kleist at 866-282-2121.
BridgeStreet Corporate Housing Worldwide, a wholly-owned subsidiary of MeriStar Hotels & Resorts (NYSE: MMH), is an industry leader in providing worldwide corporate housing accommodations to business travelers. With corporate apartments throughout the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, and 39 countries around the world, BridgeStreet properties meet uncompromising standards of quality, comfort and service. BridgeStreet is headquartered in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.bridgestreet.com.
This press release contains forward-looking statements, within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, about MeriStar Hotels & Resorts, Inc., including those statements regarding future operating results and the timing and composition of revenues, among others. 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 the following: the ability of MeriStar Hotels & Resorts to successfully implement its acquisition and operating strategies; the company's ability to manage rapid expansion; significant leverage; changes in economic cycles; competition from other hospitality companies; and changes in the laws and government regulations applicable to the company. For a more detailed description of some of those risks and uncertainties, please read the section titled "Risk Factors" and "Forward-Looking Information" in the annual report on Form 10-K of MeriStar Hotels & Resorts for the year ended December 31, 2001.