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AAA Makes Best-in-Class Online Mapping Available Free to Public.

Map it. Plan it. Go. - Find local gas prices, hotels, restaurants & more

BURNSVILLE, Minn. -- Look out Mapquest - North America's favorite auto club, now 50 million members strong, has rolled out its proprietary, best-in-class mapping tool toO everybody. Once reserved strictly for members, AAA's Internet TripTik([R]) travel planner, located on AAA.com, links AAA's best-in-class mapping tool with the Auto Club's vast storehouse of travel knowledge and information to create the nation's first online travel agency for motorists.

Part of a nationwide AAA initiative called Easy Access, the Auto Club's renowned TripTik service will be made available online to non-members for the first time in the Auto Club's history, combining full-color, high resolution graphics with user-friendly navigation and many other useful functions like being able to email a map to a friend - all at no charge to any user.

"Travelers who are accustomed to existing online mapping tools are going to be blown away," said Gail Weinholzer, Director of Public Affairs, AAA Minnesota/Iowa. "The depth and breadth of this tool is simply mind-boggling. It's fully interactive, and features booking capabilities; it's fast and very user-friendly." According to Weinholzer, AAA is making its new and improved online travel planning resource available to the public due to popular demand for more interactive mapping tools.

What's more, the enhanced TripTik is very versatile and may be used to plan everyday and occasional trips as well as summer driving vacations. Key features include:

* Ease of use

* Able to meet any mapping need, across town or across country

* Attractive, full color, high-resolution graphics with multiple viewing options and printing capability for any and all elements

* Reduced travel delays with road condition information (construction and congestion notes)

* One-stop shopping: Direct links to booking resources

And AAA offers another historic first: AAA.com is the first online mapping tool to provide the locations of and fuel prices for local gas stations. AAA recently added data for almost 100,000 U.S. gas stations to its popular TripTik([R]) travel planner. Locations are updated weekly and multiple-grade fuel prices are updated four times daily. Simply mouse over each location to see prices for multiple fuel grades.

In addition to gas stations, the new AAA map/planning tool features more than 400,000 "points of interest" which include lodgings, restaurants, events and attractions.

For example, travelers can click on hotel and restaurant icons to find AAA ratings, pricing levels and contact information. Want to stay at that hotel? Book it at AAA.com by simply clicking on the icon and following the simple reservation instructions. Need information on local attractions, Hertz([R] )car rental locations, retail establishments that offer AAA discounts, AAA-approved auto repair facilities? Just click on the appropriate icons that appear on the map. Looking for local campgrounds or events? They are only one click away.

It is anticipated that granting the general public access to the new and enhanced AAA TripTik ([R])mapping tool will generate revenue for the Auto Club once users identify the multiple savings and benefits available to AAA members. Of course, AAA members using AAA.com will continue to take advantage of AAA's members-only benefits through the Auto Club's discount programs and preferred travel provider arrangements.

As part of AAA Minnesota/Iowa's marketing message for the new and improved TripTik([R]) travel planner, consumers will be encouraged to Map it. Plan it. Go. The marketing message stresses the three key functions that separate TripTik([R]) travel planner from its competitors:

1) Easy to use, state-of-the-art mapping functions,

2) The ability to comparison shop and book travel reservations on your own PC (with special rates for AAA members),

3) Just go, confident that AAA has paved the way for a stress-free trip.

AAA offers automotive, travel, insurance and financial services to more than 49 million members in the United States and Canada. AAA Minnesota/Iowa is part of The Auto Club Group, with 4.1 million members in eight Midwest states.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Feb 20, 2007
Words:659
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