Travel.co.uk will not run advertising on its site and will rely on “individually negotiated revenue-sharing arrangements” with the agents and operators who take bookings on the site.
At the official media launch this week, managing director Ray Mason said: “We made a conscious decision not to run third party advertising,” he said, “even though it’s a great revenue opportunity.”
The Travel.co.uk URL was sold by Comtec to a separate and independent Travel.co.uk Ltd. The comparison site is a client of Comtec.
However, the relationship with Comtec is critical to what Mason sees as travel.co.uk’s big advantage over other price comparison sites – real-time availability and pricing. Mason suggested that when revenues are driven by clicks, the referring site gets its money even if the customer is clicking through to a price which is no longer available. “This doesn’t make for a good customer experience,” he said.
Travel.co.uk is based around Comtec’s established systems, into which tour operators load content and which agents can access. Travel.co.uk effectively acts as an interface between the two systems.
Agents and operators will appear side-by-side in the results, leading to what Mason admits will be “interesting pricing issues”.
In terms of the features on the site, Mason in particular talked up the calendar view option for search results, which he claimed “has never been done before for package holidays”. Customers can see the best price for dates around its chosen departure dates.
He also to talked up the ability to search multiple destinations from specific airports, by temperature or by flight duration. TripAdvisor content is featured on a co-branded page, with other images and editorial sourced from tour operator brochures. There are also 1,000 videos, produced by Trailstream, with this set to double by the year end.
While the site currently compares package holidays only, new channels will be added over time, including dynamic packages. It will be marketed in the launch stage through SEO and PPC.