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Biztravel.com, GNA Sign Internet Travel Agreement

Biztravel.com and Global Network Architects (GNA), a virtual communities developer, signed an exclusive agreement to provide high-speed, interactive travel reservation services worldwide.

The Biztravel.com/GNA partnership will offer online airline, hotel, and car rental reservations via GNA's various communities, beginning with Sheraton.Net, a personalized in-room communications service soon to be deployed in Sheraton hotels worldwide.

Sheraton.Net will make interactive information available via televisions in its hotel rooms. GNA will also bring Biztravel.com services to other communities under construction, including those aimed at distance learning students and business and residential communities. Biztravel.com will be deployed throughout Asia, Europe, and the U.S. by the end of 1998, the companies said.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Under the agreement, Biztravel.com and GNA will establish or arrange for ticket fulfillment centers in strategic locations worldwide. This will allow travelers and road warriors using GNA communities such as Sheraton.Net to receive air tickets booked via Biztravel.com the same day or overnight.

Sheraton.Net was announced in November 1997 by its partners Microsoft, Global Network Architects (formerly Asia Connect), ITT Sheraton, Compaq, and 3Com.

The Biztravel.com Web site has automated and integrated the reservations and frequent flyer rewards processes. The company's travel reservation system, bizReservations, helps grow designated frequent flyer accounts by automatically recommending travel itineraries that can maximize frequent flyer miles.

The system also optimizes other travel preferences, such as lowest price, closest to desired schedule, and preferred carrier. Biztravel.com enables travelers to track and manage account summaries for multiple travel frequency programs at a single location on the Internet via its bizMiles service. It also offers travel news, opinions, and advice, and provides weather forecasts, restaurant guides, driving instructions, and street maps.

Based in New York, the company is backed by Comcast Corp., News Corp., Informix, and Intel, as well as three Silicon Valley venture capital firms Accel Partners, Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, and New Enterprise Associates.