Rough Guides and Headland Digital Media Announce Joint Partnership with Internet Travel Network

With the number of travel bookings over the web expected to double in 1998, Rough Guides and Headland Digital Media announced a strategic partnership with the industry leader in web-based travel reservation systems, ITN (Internet Travel Network), to create the most comprehensive interactive travel planning resources on the Internet.

Set to launch early this fall, The Rough Guide to Travel www.roughguides.com/travel is a content-focused environment where independent travelers can learn about destinations, join an online community of travelers, and find Rough Guides books and relevant travel products. The site also offers visitors unprecedented convenience in making reservations and purchasing tickets through ITN.

"Rough Guides is excited about the possibilities our new venture opens for us," said Mark Ellingham, publisher of Rough Guides. "Besides offering our complete travel guide information, we're now able to publish timely editorial pieces in our bi-weekly Rough Takes travel magazine and offer our users the highest quality online reservations systems through ITN. The independent traveler now has a one-stop travel shop of their very own."

Travelers will also be able to access Rough Guides' up-to-the-minute travel information from the ITN web site www.itn.net , in addition to booking their air, car and hotel reservations. "ITN's goal is to make travel planning simple and effective for the leisure and business traveler, and we've achieved this by partnering with The Rough Guides," said Dick Whilden, CEO of Internet Travel Network. "It's fresh, it's fun, and a it's perfect complement to ITN's easy-to-use travel reservation service."

As the World Wide Web emerges as a mass-market medium, travel represents one of the largest electronic commerce areas for consumers. Rough Guides, publisher of more than 100 travel guides, is in prime position to capitalize on this growth by bringing content from its popular, opinionated destination guidebooks online through a partnership with Headland Digital Media, the digital publishing arm of Pearson plc.

Headland has developed an innovative, database-driven distribution system that delivers requested content from a central location. This system allows Rough Guides' editorial team to dynamically update their destination guide information across all distribution partner web sites in real time, using content management tools that Headland has developed especially for this purpose. The database distribution system will allow Rough Guides' partners to receive customized feature sets simultaneously. Combined, the proprietary distribution system and content management tool allow Rough Guides to focus on its core competency, publishing travel guides.

Rough Guides and Headland see this partnership, coupled with ITN's robust booking service, as a natural evolution of the online travel space and an important step toward addressing the interests and expectations of travel enthusiasts on the web.

Mark Nieker, president of Headland Digital Media, commented, "From the start, The Rough Guide to Travel site was designed to be the top integrated information and travel services site on the Internet. We are taking advantage of the Internet's inherent publishing and distribution qualities to extend the Rough Guide brand and offer an evolutionary leap in interactive travel guide publishing."

The Rough Guide to Travel has been developed from a traveler's perspective to evolve beyond today's typically content-light, marketing-heavy travel information sites. It will feature the unified tone of Rough Guides' critically acclaimed travel books, combined with the depth of thousands of pages of up-to-the-minute travel information taken directly from the guides. From Atlanta to Zurich, with more than 4,000 destinations in between, the intrepid traveler can quickly locate detailed information and make online, real-time air, hotel and car rental reservations - all in one easily accessible Internet location.

Beginning on September 1, 1998, The Rough Guide to Travel website will be located at www.roughguides.com/travel

Notes

Internet Travel Network brings travel-booking capabilities to more than 150 separate companies around the world. Many of these sites represent the Web's top Internet sites, including CNN Interactive, Travelweb and Rand McNally. ITN's consumer, corporate and leisure travel booking solutions are the most widely used on the Internet, with the vast majority of online travel sites utilizing Internet Travel Network services for superior performance, ease of use, and flexible implementation of travel reservation services. Internet Travel Network provides complete travel reservations capabilities, including flight schedules and fares, car rentals, hotels and vacation tours to corporate and leisure travelers via the Internet. For information, check in at ITN's Web site, www.itn.net

Rough Guides is recognized for its hip, irreverent travel guides, written with an eye for detail and a voracious appetite for off-the-beaten-path adventure. From a single Greece guide published by four friends in 1982, Rough Guides has grown to more than 150 titles, including 100 travel guides, unique language phrasebooks, acclaimed music reference guides, eclectic world music CDs, and a bestselling pocket Internet guide. The company is also known around the world through its BBC television series, "Rough Guides." In all of its ventures, Rough Guides focuses on providing extensive cultural background and the most reliable, up-to-date and entertaining information for destinations around the world to independent travelers of all ages, on all budgets. Rough Guides is distributed globally by The Penguin Group, and can be reached at rough@panix.com

Formed in March 1997 as the digital publishing arm of Pearson plc, Headland Digital Media creates, publishes, and distributes branded Internet programming that integrates themes and content from Pearson publishing companies. The company has successfully introduced more than two dozen digital publications and programs in key market segments, including education, entertainment, and information. These efforts serve as the foundation from which Headland maintains its position among the industry's leading digital publishers and syndicators. Headland is headquartered in San Francisco. For more information, please visit the company's website, www.headland-media.com

For further information

Headland Digital Media, Inc.

 

Patrice Paul

 

Public Relations Manager

 

(415) 597-9064


patrice.paul@headland-media.com

Rough Guides

 

SoRelle Braun

 

Marketing Manager

 

(212) 414-3635


sbraun@penguinputnam.com

Internet Travel Network

 

Elizabeth Naughton

 

Manager, Corporate Communications

 

(650) 614-6357


enaughton@itn.net