EasyVoyage hunts for strategic UK buys

Paris-based travel portal EasyVoyage is poised to launch an assault on the UK market and says it expects to make an acquisition by the end of the year.

Although relatively unknown in the UK EasyVoyage is a major player in continental Europe, particularly in France, Germany, Spain and Italy – markets where taken as a whole it claims to be number one for price comparison.

Speaking to Travolution on a visit to the UK this week,  founder and chairman Jean-Pierre Nadir said the company was looking to significantly increase its profile in the UK market.

He said the business was backed by considerable venture capital funds and that it was on the acquisition trail, and it was on the look out for a web player with large amounts of traffic but plenty of scope to use EasyVoyage’s reach to grow sales.

“We hope to close a deal before the end of the year,” Nadir said. “The biggest difficulty for us [in the UK] is developing the holiday packages.

“In France it’s mainly XML exchange, here it’s dynamic packaging. Dynamic packaging in France is only 4% of the market, here it’s the most important technology. For that we need specific development.”

EasyVoyage’s strategy is to be present in a wide variety of channels including meta search, Travelzoo-style subscriber email marketing, and Tripadvisor-style reviews, both written professional by its editorial staff and user generated, a function launched in August.

Nadir said its cost per click meta search generates annual sales totalling €500 million in value for its merchants.

EasyVoyage already works with all the large pan European players like Expedia, Lastminute.com, ebookers and Kayak but believes it can offer smaller intermediaries and suppliers, particularly hotels, that are over-reliant on Google and Tripadvisor for traffic a viable alternative.  
“The real competition in this market is with Google, Bing and soon Apple. It’s good for competitors to develop speciality expertise.”

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