Leonardo continues to add channels to its list of third-party distribution sites that receive images from Leonardo’s hospitality partners. Internet travel search engine Kayak.com is Leonardo’s latest channel partner.

Leonardo currently distributes rich media content to all Global Distribution Systems (GDSs), as well as online booking channels such as Yahoo!, Opodo, Smarterliving, Lodging.com, Orbitz, Pricegrabbers and Cheaptickets.

“All of the travel channels are embracing rich media content which provides the customer with an enhanced online viewing experience,” said Leonardo CEO David Elton. “Clearly there is a need for more enhanced visuals online with the Internet becoming the most influential consumer tool for making hotel and travel decisions, both corporate and leisure.”

Jeff Thomas, Vice President, Commercial Operations - The Americas, said Leonardo provides the largest one-stop aggregated source of digital content for hotels, destinations and attractions in the travel industry, and he welcomes Kayak.com to their distribution family.

“Kayak.com, with more hotels than any other travel site, has quickly become a major success story in the world of online travel,” Thomas said. “Adding Kayak.com to our growing portfolio greatly enhances the value of our distribution-bank platform to our partner hotel companies. Leonardo is delighted to be working with Kayak.com to provide access to our high-quality rich-content.”

"Kayak.com is dedicated to providing our consumers with comprehensive and objective results. Adding the Leonardo images to our hotel details pages helps users make a more informed decision and continues our effort to provide travellers with information about Every Hotel on Earth," said Drew Patterson, Kayak Vice President, eMarketing.

Kayak.com was created by co-founders of Orbitz, Travelocity and Expedia to provide consumers with more comprehensive travel options in one place. The site searches more than 100 different travel sites and provides real-time prices and availability for hundreds of airlines, 135,000 hotels and all leading rental car companies.

Savvy Web surfers are looking for the best travel deals, and enhanced images—including still images, moving images and e-brochures—can help influence a potential buyer. That’s why industry leaders such as Starwood Hotels & Resorts, InterContinental Hotels Group, Carlson Hotels & Resorts and many more are turning to Leonardo to manage and distribute their rich media content.

According to industry statistics from research firm PhoCusWright:

- More than one-third of travel purchases will be made online by 2006.

- While the traditional travel industry is growing at 2-3% per year, online travel is growing at more than 30% per year.

- According to a May 2006 report, online channels will generate 60% of U.S. travel bookings by 2008.

“Visual multimedia is crucial for online hotel distribution,” Leonardo’s Elton said. “By expanding our reach in the Web-based channels, we ensure our hospitality partners are maximizing their investment and reaching the most consumers possible.”