SideStep Launches Vacation Package Search

Travel Search Leader Extends Model to New Category

SANTA CLARA, Calif., May 16 /PRNewswire/ — SideStep, Inc., the traveler’s search engine, today announced the Beta release of its new vacation package service, which enables consumers to search multiple sites at once for vacation escapes to more than 90 popular destinations worldwide.

SideStep is the first travel search company to offer consumers choices from a variety of providers with a single click. This new service significantly simplifies a traditionally complex process. According to Gartner Group, while travelers check an average of 4.2 sites before booking a flight, they check 5.8 sites before booking a vacation package. With SideStep, travelers can now turn to a single site to explore and book travel packages.

This new vacation package service saves travelers money as well as time. For example, a recent SideStep search for an eight day trip for two from San Francisco to Orlando uncovered a flight/hotel package available at $489 less than the a la carte price. A similar search for a Cancun package offered an $829 savings.

SideStep’s vacation search also delivers significant benefits to travel providers. Vacation packages offer attractive profit margins, and many travel providers are placing substantial emphasis on the sale of these products. With the introduction of vacation package search, SideStep will help its marketing partners to promote their most rewarding offerings. Partners include Vacation Outlet, Pleasant Holidays and Orbitz, with additional travel providers to be announced shortly.

“With more than 4.2 million unique monthly visitors, SideStep gives us access to an audience that is both sizeable and well-qualified,” said Aaron Gowell, President and CEO of Vacation Outlet’s parent company, NLG. “We’re confident that our partnership with SideStep will yield a large volume of new customers for us and are excited to be part of the launch of this valuable new service.”

“SideStep created and leads the travel search space, and this launch confirms our continuing commitment to innovation,” said Russ Lemelin, SideStep’s interim CEO. “Vacation packages offer notable savings to consumers and better margins for travel suppliers. Our new service serves both groups extremely well, and we anticipate rapid adoption among travelers and the companies that want to reach them.”

PhoCusWright projects that online package sales will reach $10.3B by 2006, a 368% increase in three years. By that time, the research firm anticipates that 13% of all air, car and hotel sales booked online will be booked as part of a package.

SideStep helps consumers find outstanding travel values through SideStep.com and the SideStep(TM) toolbar, as well as through TravelFinds Specials(SM) and TravelFinds Spotlight(SM), the company’s popular email newsletters.

About SideStep

SideStep — the traveler’s search engine — brings compelling offers from numerous travel providers to more than 4.2 million consumers each month. The company has forged alliances with leading travel marketers such as JetBlue Airways, Continental Airlines, Hyatt Corporation, Best Western, National Leisure Group and Thrifty Car Rental. SideStep has been named one of TIME Magazine’s “50 Coolest Web Sites” and declared “Best of the Web” by Forbes. The company is privately held and has raised more than $17M in funding from Trident Capital and individual investors. For more information, visit www.sidestep.com.

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