AOL travel channel handed public showcase

Online giant AOL is to open up its previously member-only travel channel to the rest of the internet on 25 July.

The switch is part of a wider AOL strategy to make available large sections of its content and functionality to a wider user-base.

Until now the travel channel on AOL UK has been an exclusive and major part of the portal’s services it offers existing Internet Service Provider customers.

As well as the channel’s live travel content, users will be able to tap into any of the site’s ten travel booking engines, including ski holidays, hotels, aggregator search engines, car hire and ferries.

Existing functions such as the channel’s newsletter, chat and community sections will also be made available to the wider world.

Head of travel and lifestyle for interactive marketing at AOL, Heather Sommerville, said: “Travel has been one of the most popular destinations within the AOL client software, so we anticipate a significant audience for our travel related services when the content goes live on the open web at the end of July.”

The move to axe the AOL site’s customer-only channels comes amid a strategic review by parent company Time Warner that could see a sale of the UK business.

AOL is currently the third biggest internet service provider in the UK with 2.2 million customers, behind BT and the recently merged NTLTelewest.

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