Aldi to launch travel website

Aldi launched a travel website in January after claiming the venture will turn the online travel industry on its head.

The discount chain, which has 400 stores across the UK, is using the technology platform and administrative services of On Holiday Group (OHG).

Although Aldi will offer a wide range of destinations, it will only work with a limited number of suppliers who can guarantee exclusive deals.

OHG chief executive Steve Endacott said of the 10,000 hotels currently featured by OHG, only around 150 will make the grade to appear on the Aldi website.

“This is not your typical online product. We’re playing hard to get,” he said.

“Hoteliers will have to offer us something really special in order to be selected. In return, they will get a full hotel."

OHG’s buying team was at World Travel Market in London in November talking to potential supplier

partners, including hotels, airlines and transfer companies.

They will initially be looking to put together summer sun holidays and will then turn their attention to city breaks and ski breaks.

Once selected, suppliers will also have the opportunity to be featured as one of six special holiday deals, which will be promoted in a fortnightly leaflet distributed in Aldi stores.

Around 900,000 leaflets will be distributed to Aldi customers across the UK.

These fortnightly special deals will also be featured in Aldi’s special offers magazine distributed at cashier desks.

The retailer, which has 7,000 stores globally, already sells holidays in Austria, Switzerland and Germany, where it works in partnership with Eurotours International.

“We have sold a million holidays in Austria since we launched in 2003,” said Aldi group buying director

Sarah Butler. “We are not new to travel and we are hoping to replicate the same success in the UK.”

She said the timing of the launch was perfect in the current economic climate.

“People are looking for good deal and our motto is ‘A break you’ll remember at a price you’ll love’.We are thriving in the credit crunch and our sales are up 26%,” she claimed.

The website, www.alditravel.co.uk, went live in January.

The travel business will have ABTA bonding but will not have an Air Travel Orgnisers’ Licence.

Instead, Supplier Failure Cover will be included in the cost of the holiday, giving customers financial protection of up to £5,000 per person for replacement of a holiday including flights, accommodation and transfers.

Aldi is currently opening a store a week in the UK and plans to have 450 by autumn 2009.

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