A Thomson Travel Group-backed upmarket travel company launching
both on the high street and the web later this year is talking to
agencies about the initiative.
TravelChest, which will go live next month on the internet, already has
more than 100 tour operators signed up and is now looking for an agency
to handle the consumer launch.
Customers will be able to go online to research destinations and can
then call a personal travel adviser or visit one of the retail sites to
make a holiday booking.
The company decided to structure itself this way after research showed
that customers are reluctant to book holidays online without being able
to gain advice face to face or at least over the telephone.
’The travel world is changing and Thomson wants a stake in the next
phase in the new-age developments,’ Nigel Carpenter, the chief executive
of TravelChest, said. ’The site will offer a wide range of holidays and
travel options. The focus will be on specialist and upmarket holiday
Carpenter declined to confirm the size of the stake that Thomson is
taking other than to say it was a ’minority’.
Charles Gurassa, the Thomson Group chief executive who bought into the
company in January, has said that across the next two years Thomson will
invest heavily in driving its e-commerce business.
The online travel market is becoming crowded. Emap’s Bargainhols.com is
offering travel of all descriptions and holidayexpert.com targets more
discerning online travellers. Deckchair.com claims to be the simplest
Many sites, including Expedia.com, Travelocity.com and Travelselect.com,
are also setting up as one-stop shops for all travel requirements.