ebookers.com Adds Financial Services

[London, ENGLAND] European travel site
ebookers.com
surprised the Internet industry Wednesday by announcing its
diversification into financial services in a deal with
moneygator.com.

Unlike many e-commerce sites, ebookers.com has
relatively high-spending customers who pay an average
of US $650 per transaction. The rationale behind the
latest move is to offer these customers the
chance to shop and compare for loans, credit cards and
mortgages from leading brands like Barclays, Northern
Rock, and Diners Club.

Access to the brands is being provided by U.K. financial
services aggregator, moneygator.com, which launched its
own site in April this year. Moneygator has over 35 lenders
participating on its site, including Woolwich, Egg, Nationwide,
Scottish Widows, Yorkshire, and Halifax — all familiar names
in the U.K.

Dinesh Dhamija, chief executive of ebookers.com, spoke of
the company’s “large and growing customer base” which is
underpinned by around 0.7 million registered users.

“Although travel remains our dedicated focus, it makes sense
to maximize the value of the customers that our travel
business gives us, through the considered development of
low-risk and profitable revenue streams in partnership
with quality third parties,” said Dhamija.

Dhamija said the financial services site will give customers
the same “shop and compare” format they are used to on the
ebookers travel site.

Chief Financial Officer Navneet Bali said the strength of this
type of partnership is that it leverages ebookers.com’s high
brand awareness and high value customer base, yet at minimal
risk.

“Initially, it is likely to result in modest, yet profitable
revenue streams, which we intend to develop and widen in the future,”
said Bali.

The online spin-off from travel agency Flightbookers plc,
ebookers.com operates in eleven European countries and has a
listing on the Neuer Markt in Germany as well as the Nasdaq.
It plans to extend its financial offerings to countries outside
the U.K. using what it calls “similar outsourcing arrangements.”

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