Europe's largest hotel companies and worldres form new joint venture

Accor, Six Continents and Hilton International Invest in WorldRes Europe to Distribute Hotels Online International Tourism Exchange,

Berlin, Germany March 9, 2003 (ots) - Three of Europe's largest hotel companies - Accor, Six Continents and Hilton International - have invested in WorldRes Europe, a new joint venture created to market and sell hotels online throughout Europe. WorldRes is contributing its reservation technology and European subsidiary. This agreement is currently under review by the European Commission regulatory approval. "We have been a WorldRes partner and investor since 2000. They continue to interface with our central reservation system, thus using the best technology for selling our hotels online," said Jean-Marc Espalioux, CEO of Accor.

"We have agreed to invest and promote WorldRes Europe as the optimal means to find and book our hotels online. WorldRes Europe will make our hotel brands available to anyone with online access, including Web sites, call centers, tour operators and travel agents".

The hotel companies have agreed to offer very competitive inventory and rates through WorldRes Europe, making it easy for web sites around the world to market and sell Europe's leading hotel brands. WorldRes Europe will sell the hotels through a variety of methods, including commissionable retail rates, wholesale net rates, packages and private negotiated rates.

"We need to distribute our hotels online as broadly and as efficiently as possible," said Richard North, CEO of Six Continents Hotels "WorldRes Europe has demonstrated its ability to establish a fully automated, low-cost, high quality multi brand distribution outlet that is attractive to hotel suppliers, internet retailers and consumers alike. These are the very qualities that Six Continents Hotels seeks when selecting distributors to sell our rates and inventory and Worldres Europe fits that bill perfectly.

WorldRes has been a leading online hotel distribution network in Europe since it began operations there in 1997. The network powers top European travel web sites and search engines, including Opodo, AOL UK, Lycos Europe, Virgin Airlines, Accommodation Search Engine (ASE), Freeserve and Hotel.de. WorldRes' booking engine operates in seven languages including Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish.

"Hilton International acknowledges the growth in the online travel market. Our investment in WorldRes, will ensure that online travel in Europe remains competitive and offer the best value for our customers." said David Michels, CEO of Hilton Group plc.

WorldRes Europe is also working with other major European hotel companies, distributing their hotels through the same platform and network of web sites on the same terms as Accor, Six Continents and Hilton International. Thousands of individual hotels throughout Europe are already selling through the same network, simply by accessing the WorldRes system (www.worldres-europe.com

Online hotel bookings are the success story of e-commerce and Europe is the world's largest hotel market--this joint investment in WorldRes Europe is a very important step for all of us.," said Wolfgang Kitza, CEO of WorldRes. "We have been working with the world's leading hotel companies for years. Through our links to their reservation systems and our joint investment in WorldRes Europe, we will continue to work closely together to further improve the technology and efficiency of online booking."

About WorldRes

WorldRes is a leading online hotel reservation network with more than 30,000 properties. The network includes over 2,000 Web distribution partners, travel agents and global distribution systems. WorldRes.com also owns and operates the consumer Web site PlacesToStay.com (www.placestostay.com). Founded in 1995, WorldRes.com is headquartered in San Mateo, Calif., with global offices in France, Germany and the United Kingdom.

About Accor

With 150,000 associates in 140 countries, Accor is the European leader and one of the world's largest groups in travel, tourism and corporate services, with two major international activities: - hotels: 3,835 hotels (418,000 rooms) in 90 countries, casinos, travel agencies, and restaurants; - services to corporate clients and public institutions: each day, 13 million People in 32 countries use a broad range of services (food vouchers, people care and services, incentive, loyalty programs, events) engineered and managed by Accor.

About Hilton International

Hilton International (HI), an operating division of the UK based Hilton Group plc, owns the rights to the Hilton brand name throughout the world, with the exception of North America. HI operates over 400 hotels, with some 250 branded Hilton, over 150 under the mid-market Scandic brand plus 15 luxury Conrad hotels. Hilton International employs over 44,000 staff in over 70 countries. A global marketing alliance between Hilton International and the North American based Hilton Hotels Corporation (HHC), extends the number of hotels operated by both companies worldwide to over 2,400 - over 500 of which are branded Hilton.

For more information on Hilton Group, please visit our corporate website, at: www.hiltongroup.com

About Six Continents

Six Continents Hotels is a leading global hotel group whose brands include InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn, Express by Holiday Inn and Staybridge Suites. It owns, operates or franchises more than 3,300 hotels and over 515,000 guest rooms in nearly 100 countries and territories around the world. The following are some of the service marks owned by Six Continents Hotels, Inc., its subsidiaries or affiliates: Holiday Inn(R), Crowne Plaza(R), Express by Holiday Inn(TM), Holiday Inn Select(R), Holiday Inn Garden Court(R), Holiday Inn SunSpree(R) Resort, Staybridge Suites(R) by Holiday Inn, Holidex(R), Priority Club(R), InterContinental(R), Forum(R), Parkroyal(R), andCentra(R). Six Continents Club(R), Six Continents(TM), and 6 Continents(TM) are service marks of Six Continents PLC and used under license.

Six Continents Hotels, Inc. offers information and reservations capability on the Internet - www.sixcontinentshotels.com, www.intercontinental.com for InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, www.crowneplaza.com for Crowne Plaza Hotels and Resorts, www.holiday-inn.com for Holiday Inn hotels, www.hiexpress.com for Express by Holiday Inn hotels, www.staybridge.com for Staybridge Suites by Holiday Inn, and www.priorityclub.com.

For the latest news from Six Continents Hotels, visit our online Press Office at http://www.pressoffice.sixcontinentshotels.com/.

ots Original Text Service: WorldRes Internet: http://www.presseportal.de

For further media information please contact Heike Hoerdemann @ WorldRes on: 0033 6083 22225 or Leslie McGibbon, Hilton Group plc on: 00 44 7974 229 143.