According to a recent survey commissioned by MSN and conducted by Harris Interactive, approximately three-quarters of U.S. adult respondents who have ever taken a vacation say they visit three or more Web sites when researching and/or booking their vacation plans.

The most useful resources as cited by vacationers in the MSN survey were research/guides with information on what to do and see (71 percent), airline and hotel fare comparisons (68 percent), and travel/news articles (45 percent).

Now consumers can access those resources and discover a comprehensive trip-planning experience at the newly relaunched beta version of the MSN Travel Web site.

In the MSN survey, consumers were asked what types of information they would consider most useful when researching and/or booking their vacation plans, and 71 percent chose "research/guides with information about what to do and see." Comparisons of airline and hotel fares also drew a favorable response from 68 percent of vacationers who said this would be useful, while 45 percent said they find travel/news articles useful. Further, of the 1,844 surveyed adults who have ever taken a vacation, more than three-quarters said they approximately spend less than $2,000 on average while on vacation.

"The overall survey results suggested that travelers find the Web to be most useful as an information source, particularly those who want to stretch their vacation dollars as well as find out how to make the most of their time when visiting a new destination," said Jim Quilty, vice president of travel and tourism at Harris Interactive. "The fact that three out of four vacationers spread their online research across multiple Web sites -- with some visiting 10 or more -- points to the huge timesaving benefits that a truly full-featured online travel planning site can deliver."

To address consumers' needs, MSN has relaunched a beta version of its MSN Travel Web site, which provides an end-to-end selection of content that will inspire consumers with information about where to vacation while saving time and money. MSN Travel visitors have access to more than 78,000 pages of content from the following partners:

- The Associated Press will provide timely travel articles and in-depth features to MSN Travel each week.

- Dorling Kindersley Publishing will provide content from its well-known Eyewitness Top 10 Travel Guides within relevant MSN Travel channel destination guides.

- Expedia.com, previously the exclusive provider of booking on MSN Travel, will continue on the new MSN Travel channel, which will also now include other brands in the Expedia Inc. family of leading travel sites such as Hotels.com, Hotwire.com and TripAdvisor.com, giving consumers more travel booking and content options from the MSN Travel channel.

- Frommer's publishes the No. 1-selling travel guide series in North America and will provide content for 3,500 destination guides to MSN Travel that feature expert ratings and in-depth reviews of accommodations, restaurants, shopping, night life and attractions.

- ShermansTravel.com, a leading travel deals and advice Web site, will provide in-depth Spotlight articles on popular destinations such as Las Vegas, the Caribbean, and London, plus top 10 lists such as "Hotel Bars" and "Beaches We Love."

- Travel + Leisure (T+L), the world's leading travel magazine, will provide its award-winning content to MSN Travel each month. T+L articles will feature insider information on up-and-coming locations and classic destinations, such as "The World's Best Hotels," "Where to Go Next: Paris" and "Hidden Hawaii" -- all of which can be accessed directly within related destination guides as well as from the MSN Travel channel home page.

- TripAdvisor.com will provide access to more than 3 million user ratings and reviews for hotels, resorts, inns, dining and attractions.

With the new MSN Travel site, consumers can also search for and compare airline fares, lodging rates, car rental costs and other pricing details from Expedia(R).com, Hotels.com and Hotwire.com all in one place. Visitors can easily finalize their reservations from a module on the main booking pages, or they can click on special offers featured alongside various destination guides and travel articles on the site. MSN Travel also will provide access to weather reports, airport information and other details that can help minimize travel hassles, including slide shows, travel videos and ratings, reviews and message board discussions from MSN users.

"People who work hard all year to earn their vacation time shouldn't have to spend time visiting multiple sites to assemble the pieces of their dream getaway," said John Nicol, general manager of MSN. "The new MSN Travel builds upon our extensive partnerships with many of the world's largest and most trusted leisure-travel industry advisers to create a more relevant, personalized and convenient trip-planning experience for consumers."

The relaunch of MSN Travel exemplifies Microsoft Corp.'s plans for reinvigorating MSN.com under the leadership of Nicol. Not only will the additional content provide a more complete user experience for consumers than ever before, it also will increase opportunities for MSN partners to deliver news and information about special travel promotions and discounts.

Related Link: MSN Travel