Best Hotel and Lodging Website of 2006 to be Named by Web Marketing Association

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The Web Marketing Association will again be honoring the Best Hotel and Lodging Web site of 2006. The deadline to enter the 10th annual international WebAward Competition is May 31, 2006.

The Web Marketing Association announces the call for entries for its 10th annual international WebAward Competition at http://www.webawards2006.org. The WebAwards is the standards-defining competition that sets industry benchmarks based on the seven criteria of a successful Web site.

The hotel and lodging industry represents an important category in the WebAward competition, and the Web Marketing Association will again be honoring the Best Hotel and Lodging Web site of 2006. The deadline for entry is May 31, 2006.

“The hotel and lodging industry is very competitive when it comes to Web development and companies can benefit from the independent evaluation of their online efforts that the award judges provide,” said William Rice, President of the Web Marketing Association. “Hotel and lodging Web sites have beaten the overall ISAR Index in seven of nine years of the WebAward program, only slightly under performing in 1998 and again in 2003. The industry typically meets or exceeds the 3-year criteria averages, although it slightly under performs the averages for content, use of technology, and ease of use. Strongest scores were demonstrated in design, innovation and interactivity. Hotel and lodging Web sites - including hotels, resorts, inns, and B&Bs – have benefited significantly from the disintermediation that has occurred in the travel industry because of the Internet. Consumers are now much more likely to contact a lodging establishment directly, or through an Internet portal, to book a reservation rather than pick up a telephone.”

Each year the Web Marketing Association names the Best Hotel and Lodging Website based on the scores submitted by the competition judges. “Best of Industry” WebAward winners in travel-related categories include:

Best Hotel and Lodging Website

2005 WARWICK International Hotels

2004 The New York Palace Web Site

2003 Le Meridien Hotels & Resorts

Best Travel Web site

2005 YellowstonePark.com

2004 Seabourn Cruise Line

2003 Excalibur Las Vegas Resort Hotel and Casino

Best Airline Web site

2005 We Know Why You Fly: American Airlines

2004 AirTran Airways - E-Annual 2003

2003 Jetsgo.net

Best Regional Website

2005 Knoxville Tourism and Sports Corporation

2004 Official Tourism Site of the Land of Valencia

2003 Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau

A complete list of past winners and the entry form for companies who wish to compete for 2006 honors can be found at http://www.webaward2006.org.

Web sites are judged on seven criteria including design, innovation, content, technology, interactivity, copy writing and ease of use and receive a numeric score. Each WebAward entry is judged against other entries in its industry category and then against an overall standard of excellence. Entrants also benefit from receiving valuable feedback from the WebAwards professional judging panel on their Web site development efforts.

Using the quantifiable data collected from 9,748 Web site evaluations over the past decade, the WebAwards has defined and recognized industry-specific benchmarks for successful Web sites in each of the seven judging criteria and released an Internet Standards Assessment Report to detail the findings of the study.

“Participants in the 2006 WebAwards hotel and lodging category will receive their scores in each of the seven criteria compared to the average of the entire industry. That type of feedback and benchmarking alone in worth the price of admission,” said Rice.

A copy of the Internet Standards Assessment Report, including details regarding the hotel and lodging industry through 2005, is available at http://www.webawards2006.org.

Judging for the 2006 WebAwards will take place in June through August, with winners announced in September. Judges will consist of a select group of Internet marketing professionals who have direct experience designing and managing Web sites with an in-depth understanding of the current state-of-the-art in Web site development and technology. Mark Kingdon, CEO of Organic, Inc. (http://www.organic.com) has been selected to lead the judging panel this year. Past judges have included top executives from leading organizations such as Ogilvy Interactive, Saatchi & Saatchi, Blattner Brunner, Comedy Central, Sun Microsystems, Refinery, Euro RSCG, EPB Interactive, New York Post Interactive, The Cincinnati Enquirer, J. Walter Thompson, Xerox, Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Modem Media, and Answerthink just to name a few.

The 2006 WebAward Competition current sponsors include Burst Media (http://www.burstmedia.com), SimpleFeed (http://www.simplefeed.com), Register.com (http://www.register.com), NewsUSA (http://www.newsusa.com), AdTools Inc(http://www.adtoolsinc.com), Small Army (http://www.smallarmy.net), Perseus Development Corp (http://www.perseus.com) and PRWeb (http://www.prweb.com). Media Sponsors include Website Services Magazine (http://www.websiteservices.com), AdRants (http://www.adrants), MarketingVox (http://www.marketingvox.com), MediaPost (http://www.wediapost.com), eComXpo (http://www.ecomxpo.com), Ad:Tech (http://www.ad-tech.com) and Macworld (http://www.macworldexpo.com). The Web Marketing Association thanks all of its sponsors for helping to make this annual competition possible.

About the WebAwards

The 10th annual international WebAwards competition sets the standard of excellence in 96 industry categories by evaluating Web sites and defining benchmarks based on the seven essential criteria of successful Web site development. The goal of the Web Marketing Association, sponsor of the WebAwards, is to provide a forum to recognize the people and organizations responsible for developing some of the most effective Web sites on the Internet today. Entrants benefit from a Web site assessment by a professional judging panel and the marketing opportunities presented to an award-winning Web site. For more information, visit http://www.webawards2006.org.

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