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Interbed.com Gives the Low-Down on Hotels Worldwide

[June 6] French site Interbed.com launched Tuesday offering a hotel search engine for travelers worldwide that provides both "angel" and "devil" stories from hotel guests.

Users click the angel logo for the good news, the devil for the bad. Interbed.com claims it is "returning power to the traveler" by including these testimonials and condemnations, although it remains to be seen how hotels will respond when they are given bad reviews.

The new site enables travelers to compare and select hotel accommodation on screen, then click through to the hotel where they wish to stay. However, the site is not linked directly into the reservation systems of the hotels, unlike some of the Internet's larger travel sites.

Herman Thuy, founder of Interbed.com, said the site enables users to compare hotels at a single glance -- and this feature is its main innovation.

Interbed.com provides 14 search criteria from which the user can make a choice. It shows room rates in 150+ available currencies and certainly has details on an astonishing (if unspecified) number of hotels.

"The most fundamental shift the Internet revolution will bring is transforming power from suppliers to consumers, by changing their expectations about service and comparability," said Thuy.

With hotel bookings on the Internet reaching $1.1 billion in 1999, Interbed.com expects to capture a respectable share of the market. According to analysts, online hotel bookings will grow to $4 billion by 2001.

Interbed.com reports that hoteliers believe the Internet will represent 10 per cent of their total bookings by 2004.

Any hotels that are not already represented on Interbed.com can register online for free.