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Central Florida Organization Offers Easy Access to Orlando Area Tourism

Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing (PCTSM) now offer travelers a comprehensive online reservation service through their destination website, www.VisitCentralFlorida.org. Travelers can use this new booking engine to plan and book a variety of central Florida products such as lodging, entertainment and ticketed attractions. “As vacation planning moves more and more towards an exclusively online experience, Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing has followed the trend by offering online booking on their website,” explains Fay Downing, Marketing Manager of Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing.

The booking engine is a solution developed and operated by travel technology company, ReserveDirect. “Polk County represented a great opportunity for ReserveDirect to further its relationship with the Florida tourism market,” states John Johnson, President of ReserveDirect. “Since the successful launch of our own booking engine in Orlando, we have been eager to expand our services to neighboring markets where our system can provide a much needed solution for marketing organizations such as the Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing organization,” added Johnson.

Polk County is centrally located near many major central Florida attractions such as Walt Disney World, SeaWorld and Universal Studios in Orlando, as well as Busch Gardens in Tampa, making it an efficient place to base a Central Florida vacation. Polk County also has many of its own attractions including Cypress Gardens amusement park, Fantasy of Flight, and the Polk Museum of Art, as well as a variety of hotels and vacation homes.

PCTSM will also utilize the booking engine through the County’s interactive visitor information center, called Polk Outpost 27, where an onsite agent will assist visitors with online lodging and attraction reservations. In addition, the sister website, www.CentralFloridaSports.com, will also provide a similar booking engine to accommodate reservation needs for visitors involved in sports and outdoor events within the County.

ReserveDirect, a St Louis-based company, has provided similar solutions for lodging associations and marketing organizations in the Branson, Missouri; Eureka Springs, Arkansas; Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, Tennessee; and Orlando, Florida markets. It also operates its own consumer booking engines in each of those markets.

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New Travel Magazine, Vacation Days, Showcases Regional Travel Spots in Popular Destinations and Focuses on Affordable, Family-Travel

Vacation Days Magazine, published by regional travel and reservation company, ReserveDirect, is designed to reach everyday travel consumers when they are planning their vacations and trips. Like ReserveDirect’s annual travel planner before it, Vacation Days includes listing times and information on hotels, attractions and theme parks, as well as theater and dinner shows for each destination ReserveDirect supports. Currently, the newly enhanced magazine features interesting editorial content related to each destination, including full-length features and photographs, articles and columns on accessible travel areas.

Vacation Days started its initial distribution with its Spring/Summer issue to ReserveDirect’s existing travel customers and travel agent network. And initial feedback from customers, travel suppliers and travel agents is extremely positive for increased distribution for the Fall/Winter issue of Vacation Days. “There has been a great deal of interest,” comments John Johnson, President of ReserveDirect. “In fact, I received direct contact from a customer who called to personally thank me for finally providing a travel-related magazine that was practical enough for the everyday traveler to relate to.”

And considering the demographic of ReserveDirect’s destinations, practical is important. “We are not servicing ‘fantasy’ vacationers dreaming of whisking away to South France or a private beach in the Caribbean. We cater to real families taking real vacations, and that is exactly the type of content we intend to always provide in Vacation Days,” Johnson added.

Among the columns and articles sharing unique travel experiences, the article entitled “Out Of the Ordinary,” which focuses on adventure-related activities, is a representative example of Vacation Days new direction to bring in-depth travel-related content to its customer base.

Vacation Days is a continuation of our overall goal to become more than a vital planning tool– it also can be a fun source of entertainment for the travel customers as well as a marketing partner to the destinations we serve,” said Johnson.

Although ReserveDirect offers services in the destinations featured in Vacation Days, it’s clear from reading the magazine that the publication’s focus is on promoting travel to the destination itself and not just a promotional piece for ReserveDirect. “The content is intended to motivate the customer to simply travel while providing some fun insight into what they can do when they’re there,” said Johnson. “I think that’s what’s missing in the industry.”

ReserveDirect has been producing free travel planners for customers since 2002, and has been providing online reservation services since 2001 with the initial launch of ReserveBranson.com, a reservation website for Branson, Missouri. Since then, they’ve added Eureka Springs, Arkansas, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, Tennessee and most recently, Orlando, Florida. ReserveDirect has processed over $25 million in online travel purchases in that time to over 140,000 customers and 4,000 travel agents including many AAA franchised agencies.

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Top Five Selling Travel Agents Recognized for 2006 Sales Achievements by Regional Travel Reservation Company, ReseveDirect

ReserveDirect announced today the winners of its first annual TOP5 AGENT awards. These awards are designed to recognize sales and excellence to travel agents that utilize one or all of ReserveDirect’s reservation websites to book travel for their clients throughout the year. The awards are based on a combination of overall sales volume and the number of vacation packages processed.

“This past year was yet another growth year for ReserveDirect destinations, and we attribute a good portion of that growth to our agent-related sales,” explained John Johnson, President of ReserveDirect. “As a young company, we are still in the process of developing programs to encourage and assist our agents to be successful, and these awards are an important first step.”

The winners of the TOP5 AGENT award in 2006 are Trinity Coleman, Kathy Holliday, Debbie Boswell, Donna Lewis and Roni Andersen.

Trinity Coleman works with Information Tickets & Travel at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma. Not only was Coleman a ReserveDirect TOP5 AGENT, she was the number one overall producing agent in the Midwest.

Kathy Holliday is employed by AAA Missouri, located in Jefferson City, Missouri. Holiday reigned supreme over all as the number one AAA Missouri-affiliated agent over all other AAA agents.

Debbie Boswell, too, is a AAA Missouri agent, but works in the St Louis-based AAA office. Boswell was the highest-selling AAA Missouri agent in the St Louis area.

Donna Lewis, another AAA Agent, works from the Tulsa, Oklahoma office. Lewis was the number one-producing agent in Oklahoma.

Roni Anderson finds her clients in and around the Bellevue, Nebraska area. In addition to being a TOP5 AGENT, Anderson was the highest-producing agent for AAA Nebraska.

Johnson said that with the expansion to Orlando, Florida in 2007, we are able to cater to a whole new variety of travel agents trying to streamline their customers’ vacation-building process. “Based on sales already in 2007, we’re going to have a little more competition this year for our TOP5 Awards.”

“The convenience of real time packaging, the best rates and discounts, and our instant confirmation helped these agents convert more sales to destinations we serve,” Johnson noted. “There simply isn’t a better in-market tool for agents who are researching, quoting and securing reservations for their clients.”

ReserveDirect provides agents with easy-to-use, online reservation systems for a variety of destinations including Branson, Missouri and Eureka Springs, Arkansas, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and new in November 2006, Orlando, Florida. The travel agent can use their login to access their account of any of ReserveDirect’s websites, build custom packages for their clients, including a large variety of lodging and ticketed attractions such as theater shows and theme parks— all while earning a commission and other incentives.

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ReserveOrlando.Com Offers Travelers A Way To Book A Complete Orlando, Florida Vacation Through One Comprehensive Website And Travel Service

Orlando, Florida is one of America’s premier vacation destinations, but travel consumers have been challenged to find a wide selection of lodging choices when booking their ticketed attractions with one travel company. Travelers often have to search many websites to find trustworthy sources for their ticketed attractions and shows, and then begin yet a new search to find the right lodging choice at the right price. Travelers who would rather work with one trustworthy, professional source for vacation items can now use ReserveOrlando.com.

In October 2006, ReserveDirect, an Internet travel technology company, launched ReserveOrlando.com, providing complete travel packaging for the Central Florida region, offering a la carte packaging functionality and real-time booking. With the special arrangements with Orlando area theme parks, dinner shows, family attractions and many hotels, condos and vacation homes, a travel customer can book their entire vacation with ReserveOrlando.com. The customer can simply print their vouchers straight from their own printer and submit these vouchers at the chosen gates of attractions or hotel front desks in the area, further streamlining vacationers’ travel plans.

“Although Orlando is an international destination that sees over 40 million visitors a year, there are proportionately few points of sale where the traveler can make a complete vacation package that includes lodging and tickets to the many world-renown theme parks and dinner shows,” said John Johnson, President of ReserveDirect. “The booking engine that ReserveOrlando.com is based on has been a proven tool in making peoples’ vacation planning more fun and less stressful for several years, and that experience makes the difference here in Orlando.”

ReserveDirect has been providing comprehensive travel products since 2001 in Branson, Missouri and Eureka Springs, Arkansas, as well as Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

“Of course, Orlando’s core visitor segment is similar to our existing customers in markets we currently serve, so the customers seeking wholesome, family-friendly destinations in the Ozarks and Smoky Mountains will surely enjoy the family fun of Orlando and the Central Florida area as well,” Johnson added.

ReserveOrlando.com, based on the strategies and more than five-year internet-travel experience of ReserveDirect, succeeds in the market because it places equal emphasis on lodging as well as shows and attractions, unlike the nationally-branded travel websites. “That way, we can convert lodging at a higher rate than the national websites because most travelers are going to Orlando for the attractions and shows,” stated Johnson. “The place they stay, while a part of their vacation is not the reason they are traveling.”

ReserveDirect’s reservation technology is also the cornerstone of its Group Travel component, ReserveGroups.com, allowing groups to view and book complete itineraries with live inventories, streamlining the group travel planning process. Orlando inventory will soon be added to ReserveGroups.com early in 2007 as inventories are established.

ReserveOrlando.com will add to ReserveDirect’s five-year history of providing over 120,000 orders and $19 million in travel revenues for its destinations and registered travel agents, including many AAA franchises.

“By offering complete itineraries with real availability, families can take the guesswork out of planning their vacations. We have the functionality, ease-of-use, and reliability of the national travel websites but with the charm and flair of the local products,” said Johnson, “The nationally-branded travel sites aren’t equipped to offer travel consumers the variety of ticketed attractions we can when travelers are making their lodging reservations.”

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Pigeon Forge Hotel & Lodging Association Uses Regional Travel Company, Reservedirect, For Online Marketing And Travel-Related Booking Engine.

The Pigeon Forge Hotel & Lodging Association (PFHLA) of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, has developed a brand new website that appeals to potential visitors to the area and allows travelers online access to the hotels, motels, cabins, condos and resorts in the organization. The website, www.PigeonForgeLodging.com, features a variety of membership-based services and is accompanied by a system offering vacation reservation solutions for the many visitors to the Pigeon Forge, Tennessee market.

The PFHLA commissioned ReserveDirect, an Internet-based reservation company focused on “drive-to” tourism destinations, to build their new information and fulfillment website. “ReserveDirect gave us the opportunity to enhance our web presence as well as offer additional benefits to our members through the development of our new website and associated booking engine,” said Eric Havlin, President of the PFHLA.

“Until now, the Pigeon Forge area didn’t have one real website where customers could research their trip in one place—people had to search out individual lodging websites,” said John Johnson, President of ReserveDirect. “Since travelers are now so used to comparing multiple products on one website, similar to Travelocity and Expedia, they may be turned off to a vacation destination if they don’t feel confident that they’re seeing a full range of professionally-presented products. So the PFHLA’s move to create this website will benefit its members and the community as a whole.”

In 2005, ReserveDirect launched its own destination reservation system for Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, located at www.ReservePigeonForge.com. The website provides travelers to Pigeon Forge a comprehensive, vacation planning and reservation tool, offering a variety of products such as lodging, entertainment and ticketed attractions.

ReserveDirect also developed similar solutions in other markets, including Branson, Missouri and Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Like with the PFHLA, ReserveDirect’s specialty is in providing lodging associations and destination marketing organizations a variety of web-based services related to membership, marketing and reservations.

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Internet-Based Travel Company Now Offering “Guaranteed Lowest Rate” For Lodging On All Its Destination Websites

ReserveDirect, an Internet-reservation company focused on
“drive-to” destinations, now offers travelers the
confidence of “Guaranteed Lowest Rate” on much of
the lodging listed on their websites. Travelers will be able
to identify these properties by the Guaranteed Lowest Rate
icon and know they will not find a cheaper rate anywhere else
online. In fact, if a consumer makes a purchase and finds
the same property, for the same dates and room type for a
lower price, ReserveDirect will either pay the difference
or allow the consumer to cancel their reservation without
penalty.

Beyond the clear benefit for the traveler, travel suppliers
see the advantage of offering room rates at these exclusive
prices in order to build new revenue sources within a competitive
market. ReserveDirect has developed an innovative vendor management
system that enables lodging suppliers to manage and set their
own price points as well as indicate what price tiers qualify
for the Guaranteed Lowest Rate program.

“We have a commitment to the relationships we have established
within our destinations and want to give our customers the
confidence that they are buying the best price without wasting
time shopping on multiple websites,” says John Johnson,
President of ReserveDirect. “With all the questionable
travel websites out there, customers will like knowing there’s
a company backing up their lowest rate guarantee claims. We’re
simply trying to operate a travel company that offers the
types of benefits that we would want to find when planning
our own vacations,” Johnson added.

Potential travelers can visit all of ReserveDirect’s websites
to see the lowest guaranteed rates on lodging for popular
Ozark Mountain destinations of Branson,
Missouri
and Eureka
Springs, Arkansas
as well as Smoky Mountains-area favorites,
Pigeon Forge
and Gatlinburg,
Tennessee
.

All ReserveDirect websites are modeled after the already
highly successful ReserveBranson.com.
ReserveDirect launched ReserveBranson.com
in October 2001, and it has since brought over $10 million
in tourist revenue to the Branson,
Missouri
market. The site was designed to enable a smaller
market destination to compete in the national travel marketplace
by offering “live” availability to multiple product
types within a single booking engine. Since then, the company
launched ReserveEurekaSprings.com,
ReservePigeonForge.com,
ReserveGatlinburg.com
and the newest in tour and travel technology, ReserveGroups.com.

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Popular Smoky Mountain Destinations, Pigeon Forge & Gatlinburg, Tennessee Now Available Through Comprehensive Internet Booking System

Popular family vacation destinations, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, Tennessee are now more accessible to online-travel, thanks to ReserveDirect, an Internet-reservation company focused on “drive-to” destinations. Internet-savvy travelers and families alike can now use the Expedia- and Travelocity-like reservation system to book local shows, attractions and lodging, all on one comprehensive website that focuses on the local market.

ReservePigeonForge.com and ReserveGatlinburg.com bring multiple family activities and lodging to a greater audience, including the most visited national park in the country, Great Smoky Mountains National Park. All products are displayed with real-time availability. This means that managers of the local theater shows, attractions and lodging maintain their own inventory and prices through an advanced inventory management system, allowing ReserveDirect to offer guaranteed reservations and eliminating the uncertainty common amongst other drive-to destination websites.

“By offering complete itineraries with real availability, families can take the guesswork out of planning their vacations. We have the functionality, ease-of-use, and reliability of the national travel websites but with the charm and flair of the local products,” said John Johnson, President of ReserveDirect. “The Expedias and Travelocities out there don’t work with the local market like we do and can’t deliver the variety of products.”

ReservePigeonForge.com and ReserveGatlinburg.com are modeled after the already highly successful ReserveBranson.com. ReserveDirect launched ReserveBranson.com in October 2001, and it has since brought over $10 million in tourist revenue to the Branson, Missouri market. The site was designed to enable a smaller market destination to compete in the national travel marketplace by offering “live” availability to multiple product types within a single booking engine. Since then, the company launched ReserveEurekaSprings.com for neighboring Eureka Springs, Arkansas, and added many new features to its dynamic reservation system.