RealTime IT News

QXL.com to Launch Travel Auctions with Thomas Cook

[London, ENGLAND] European online auctioneer QXL.com announced Thursday it will launch in mid-November a dedicated travel auction site in conjunction with travel agent Thomas Cook.

The co-branded site -- which will be located at www.qxl.com/thomascook -- will invite users to place bids on travel deals with prices starting as low as one pound sterling (US $1.42).

The agreement with Thomas Cook is virtually an open challenge to lastminute.com, which has built its brand on the back of interesting travel deals.

Andrew Windsor, managing director of thomascook.com, said his firm is always looking for new ways of interacting with its customers -- and the latest deal was a good opportunity.

"This will bring even more fun and excitement into the whole holiday booking experience, enabling consumers to enjoy the real-time online auction experience and potentially walk away with a holiday for a great price," said Windsor.

However, "fun and excitement" for some is "worry and stress" for others.

It is becoming reasonably clear that the gimmicky approach to selling holidays -- whether "last-minute" deals or via auctions -- is one that appeals to only the more adventurous section of the market. The vast majority of holidaymakers want to plan their vacations properly and are willing to pay a fair price for it.

A more mainstream approach to selling travel services is taken by Travelselect.com, which announced (also on Thursday) that it will be featured as flight specialist on the new Internet TV portal developed by top U.K. Internet service provider Freeserve.

At the Travelselect site, users will be able to book flights from 527 scheduled airlines, 80 of which offer discounted fares, and have access to 200 international hotel chains, 43 car rental agencies and travel insurance.

The Freeserve Internet TV portal is standard on Bush Internet TVs and Bush Internet Surf Set set-top boxes currently being sold in Dixons and Currys stores in the U.K.