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Package holidays comparison site goes live

Package holidays comparison site goes live

Travel.co.uk, a new comparison shopping experience for package holidays, has launched today. The site lets users search holidays based on a number of criteria, and provides direct access to the reservation systems of many UK tour operators and travel agents. The site also links consumers with their preferred choice of travel retailer and enables bookings to be made without having to visit another website. The firm said it operates with no agency or operator bias. Price differentials are displayed on a 30 day grid and bar chart for people who are flexible with their date of departure. The site integrates tour operators' brochure descriptions and photos, video footage of over 1000 of the most popular hotels, Trip Advisor user reviews, climate and weather statistics and Google maps. It also allows consumers to save their favourite holidays to a shortlist and then compare all the features side by side in a comparison table. Travel.co.uk said it works only with suppliers whose prices are OFT (Office of Fair Trading) compliant, meaning the holiday prices displayed are the prices consumers will pay. Ray Mason, Managing Director of travel.co.uk and former MD of Octopustravel.com, said: "Our research revealed that one of the most annoying things for users about travel comparison sites is how, once they've found a deal they like, they are sent to another site to book. Quite often they then have to search for their chosen holiday again and, if they do find it, are often disappointed to discover that it's either no longer available or it's at a higher price. All in all, that tends to be a rubbish experience. As travel.co.uk links directly into suppliers' booking systems, a user can now quickly and easily, search compare, find and book with the provider of their choice - all from one site." At launch, the website focuses solely on tour operators' package holidays and features deals from UK operators and a limited number of agents. The company said it plans to expand on this in the near future. Mason added: "New products and more agents will be added steadily over the coming weeks and months. Our next big step will be to integrate packages made up of low-cost airlines combined with discounted hotels. This will allow consumers quickly and easily to compare tour operator packages with no-frills airline and accommodation options side-by-side." Travel.co.uk also has plans to allow customers to rate the service provided by each agent based upon their own experiences and for these reviews to be available on the site. http://www.travel.co.uk

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