TUI Travel snaps up Holidays Uncovered

By Travolution
By Travolution
September 25, 2007 12:02 PM GMT

TUI Travel is to make one of its first major strategic moves on the internet with the purchase of user review website Holidays Uncovered.

It is understood a deal took place over the last few weeks and will be announced to investors and shareholders shortly, possibly as soon as the newly formed company’s trading update this week.

Holidays Uncovered has a significant presence in search engine listings for a string of destination keywords and is popular with UK consumers looking for impartial advice on travel products.

It also has major display advertising and affiliate deals with most of Europe’s leading travel providers.

TUI Travel refused to comment on the deal after the Travel Rants blog last week highlighted speculation amongst some industry insiders about a possible change in ownership for the site.

However further investigation revealed that the Holidays Uncovered domain is now owned by TUI Travel and Holidays Uncovered is registered with Companies House at the Wigmore House offices of Thomson Holidays in Luton.

The move is similar to that of online travel agency Expedia’s parent company IAC, which bought TripAdvisor in 2004 as a standalone business.

It is likely TUI Travel will overhaul the look and feel of the site in the coming months but will attempt to preserve its reputation as an independent review portal and its existing relationships with external advertisers.

In a separate development, Thomson switched on its user review arrangement with TripAdvisor last week.

Around 130,000 user reviews from TripAdvisor are now included on the Thomson Holidays website.

TUI Travel was formed this year through the merger of the First Choice Group and the holidays’ division of TUI AG.

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