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Yahoo Launches Beta Of Hotel Finder

Yahoo launches in beta a hotel finder that collects rates, location, availability and other information from hotel chains and online travel agencies, and directs users to the vendors for bookings.
Yahoo Inc. on Monday launched in beta a hotel finder that collects rates, location, availability and other information from hotel chains and online travel agencies, and directs users to the vendors for bookings.

The new product is an expansion of the Sunnyvale, Calif., company's FareChase travel site, which delivers unbiased search results on airfares, car rentals and hotels, Yahoo officials said. By aggregating listings from multiple vendors, the site saves consumers time in booking travel services.

The latest beta launch is part of the company's strategy of leveraging its search technology to expand its travel offerings, Yen Lee, general manager of travel at Yahoo, said.

The FareChase hotel beta site provides hotel addresses, distance in miles from specified locations, details on hotel amenities and standard star ratings, as well as ratings from Yahoo users. Search results can be organized by star rating, price ranges, neighborhood, desired amenities and other criteria.

Yahoo FareChase is accessible through the portal's travel, search or shopping homepages.

Yahoo, along with rivals Microsoft Corp.'s MSN and Google Inc., have been increasing their offerings in specific categories, such as retail, financial services, media and entertainment and travel. So-called vertical search engines are attracting an increasing amount of marketing dollars from broad-based search engines, which are less effective at turning online shoppers into buyers, experts say.

The four categories listed above accounted for 79 percent of the $2.6 billion spent on paid search in 2004, according to JupiterResearch, a division of Jupitermedia Corp.

Yahoo acquired travel search-engine FareChase last summer, and sells plane tickets and other travel services through a partnership with Travelocity.com.