Hotels, Metals Companies Latest to Join E-Market Craze

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Hotel rivals Marriott and Hyatt put aside their differences yesterday to become the one of the two latest industries to form an online marketplace.

The new company, which will be backed by Marriott and Hyatt, will provide hotel owners, operators and others in the hospitality business with an online shop to buy everything from soap to shower curtain rings to electricity.

In addition to bargain prices on products and services, the Web site will offer automated ordering and fulfillment, online tracking, customized content, a help desk and online customer service.

Hyatt and Marriott said they expect other hotel groups to join the unnamed company, which will initially focus its efforts in North America.

Another exchange was announced yesterday by a group of metals companies who agreed to establish an online service to provide products to businesses in the industry. The Atlanta-based marketplace, to be called MetalSpectrum, will provide specialty metals and business services beginning in September.

The participants in the venture are Alcoa Inc., Allegheny Technologies Inc., Kaiser Aluminum Corp., North American Stainless, Olin Corp., Reynolds Aluminum Supply Co., Thyssen Inc. and Vincent Metal Goods/Atlas Ideal Metals.

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