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

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