Smith and The Bench Join Forces

Global Benchmarking Venture

. October 14, 2008

SEPTEMBER 28, 2006. Smith Travel Research (STR) and The Bench are announcing the merger of their hotel performance tracking programs to provide the hotel industry with global benchmarking data. Performance metrics will be available on a daily, weekly and monthly basis and will cover all global destinations.

Comments Randy Smith, owner and co-founder of STR: 'We are excited to bring STR's trusted benchmarking expertise together with The Bench's proven technology and fresh concepts to provide a true one-stop shop for global hotel data. The global hotel market poses unique challenges to hotel companies, owners and managers. Our association with The Bench will enable us to provide a global lodging benchmarking solution. We look forward to providing our clients the common reporting platform they have requested aiding all levels of hotel operators around the globe.'

Jonathan Worsley, Chairman and co-owner of The Bench, added: 'From Beijing to Berlin, our online daily benchmarking solution has received exceptional reviews from hotel operators. It only makes sense to combine our intuitive web interface at www.thebench.com with the reporting power and expertise of STR. There is a real need within the industry to provide a global solution to hotel benchmarking data and we are delighted to now offer such a product by combining forces with STR.' Jamie Chappell, Managing Director of The Bench continued: 'Our combined capabilities will allow us to build participation in new cities and bolster existing markets which will assist hoteliers in making sound business decisions that will ultimately help them become more profitable.'

STR will purchase a significant minority stake in The Bench, which will modify its name to incorporate the association with STR. STR and The Bench will continue to service clients under their existing contracts. A joint marketing and sales effort will be launched to promote awareness of the new venture and build participation. In addition to lending sales support, STR will coordinate the adoption of its data processing procedures throughout The Bench's global reports. STR will maintain offices in Hendersonville, TN and The Bench will continue operations in London with sales offices in Asia Pacific and throughout Europe.

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