Expedia, Inc. announced a relationship with Sofitel, the prestige brand of Accor hotels. Through this agreement, Sofitel, one of the major players in the international upscale hotel market with nearly 200 properties in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, will be available on all Expedia and hotels.com sites globally.

This partnership brings Sofitel's broad range of city hotels and resorts to Expedia customers, reinforcing Expedia's position as the leading global retailer of travel and expanding Sofitel's international customer reach. Furthermore, the agreement enables both players to grow their presence in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

"We are very excited about forging this new partnership with Sofitel, as it enhances our offering of upscale properties and extends their global distribution reach through Expedia's network," said Paul Brown, president of Expedia Partner Services Group. "This relationship reinforces Expedia's position as the online sales and marketing partner of choice for leading hotel groups worldwide."

Sofitel and Expedia will implement a direct connection, which will reduce the cost of each transaction booked through Expedia. Expedia's Direct Connect technology increases the efficiency and cost-effectiveness for hotels to manage inventory and rates available on Expedia through central reservations systems.

"This partnership is an important milestone for the international distribution of Sofitel in Europe, the Middle East and Africa" said Yann Caillere, managing director of Sofitel. "By collaborating with the world's leading online travel company, Sofitel brings its world-class hotels to more travelers around the world and fuels its ambitious growth plans with an optimized multi-channel distribution platform."

"Expedia partners with the world's leading hotel companies worldwide, and this agreement with Sofitel is a significant achievement in our EMEA development plan," said Henrik Kjellberg, senior vice president of international lodging and destination services, Expedia Partner Services Group.

This EMEA partnership builds on the highly successful business relationships already established between Sofitel and Expedia in North America and in Australia.