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Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch adds local reservations

In an effort to expand its reach, the company is offering a new service that lets consumers book an array of local events and activities.

In an effort to expand its reach, Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch today said it is offering a new service that lets consumers make reservations online for an array of local events and activities.

The new See related newsmaker: Charles Conn service, CitySearch Reservation Centers, will allow people to use CitySearch.com city guides to make online golfing reservations, schedule personal service appointments, and make reservations at restaurants, the company said.

In late October, three months after its acquisition of Microsoft's Sidewalk city guide, Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch relaunched with a redesigned user interface. The new site also integrated the Sidewalk service into CitySearch's network of 77 local guides.

In recent weeks, the company has seen its stock fall close to its 52-week low of 17.87 set in October, a big drop from its 52-week high of 80.5 set last December. Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch, which competes head to head with America Online's Digital City, also faces increasing competition from newspaper companies, including the nation's No. 2 newspaper chain, Knight Ridder. Just this week, Knight Ridder created a separate Internet unit, KnightRidder.com, to compete against such city guides.

Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch said it has entered partnerships with several online businesses for its reservation centers, such as an online tee-time reservation service for golfers called SelectTee-Time.com, online personal services scheduler Pointserve, and online restaurant reservation service Foodline.com.

For example, through the company's $5 million investment and multiyear distribution agreement with Foodline.com, the reservation centers will let users in Boston and New York make reservations online at local restaurants. The companies plan to extend this service to several cities during the upcoming year.

Based on partnerships with Hotel Reservation Network, WorldRes.com, and Pegasus Systems, CitySearch users will have access to discount hotel prices, and will be able to search for and book the best deals from one point, eliminating the task of calling around to several establishments.

As part of its expansion efforts, the company also said CitySearch expects to continue to add new transaction-based services to the reservations center. Future plans include convenience services, such as online grocery shopping and dry-cleaning pickup and delivery as well as rental services, such as car and equipment. In addition, the company plans to offers users a way to schedule appointments with local doctors, dentists, and other health care providers.

"We designed our CitySearch Reservations Center to help consumers better manage their busy lives, providing them with the ability to get access to their favorite events, activities and services in one place," Ticketmaster Online-CitySearch chief executive Charles Conn said in a statement.

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