High street travel agents, already under pressure from direct sales
firms, have been dealt another blow with the launch of a UK version of
Microsoft’s online travel service. MSN Expedia is the first e-commerce
service from Microsoft UK, and will be heavily advertised on and off the
The site, which allows UK users to plan and book holidays online 24
hours a day, has generated pounds 100,000 worth of ticket sales in the
first week before the official launch. Its US equivalent has an annual
growth rate of 250% and average sales of dollars 7m per week.
The UK version will offer advertisers an opportunity to target ABC1
consumers who are more likely to buy on the internet. Saga Holidays,
Swiss Air and book publisher Infront have already signed up to put
banner ads on the site.
British Airways and Thomson Holidays are Expedia’s UK launch
Both brands will be heavily advertised on the site.
The site will be advertised by search engines Yahoo! and Infoseek, and
by the press and travel magazines. The site can be found at