eBay taps into travel market

eBay is planning to expand its travel offering by leveraging its partnership with Cultuzz.com, it was revealed at this year’s EyeForTravel Distribution Conference in London.
Karim Lankarany, a Senior Manager for eBay’s German division, told delegates that selling travel packages on eBay has proved successful in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and is now building momentum in the UK. As part of its evolution, the auction site now plans to integrate dynamic packaging into its hotel distribution model.

“We expect this to kick off in the UK and further down the road we expect new services to appear on ebay, such as wellness packages, air content and site seeing tours. Lankarany commented.

Hoteliers are able to control inventory on eBay and sell rooms during off-peak periods. Hotel rooms are sold on eBay through trading assistants. The ‘hotel vouchers’ are typically valid for up to one year, with non-fixed dates, which are subject to availability. Rooms are sold under the sellers name but using the hotel description,

Astron Hotels were the first to sell travel on eBay five years ago with a bid that started at one euro. But it was Marriott’s first offering on eBay in 2003, that began a new trend of online travel bidding.

While the auction process is an important driver of sales, eBay is developing a ‘buy it now’ function, which enables customers pay a set price rather than enter an auction process.


eBay, which currently has over 10, 000 short trips and accommodation offers on its German site, and received over 18.5 million visitors in December 2005 alone, is expanding its partnership with Cultuzz, a third party service provider that uploads content from its 2, 500 partner hotels onto eBay.

“We are working closely with Cultuzz because they enable us to sell hotels online”, says Lankarany.

Cultuzz, which has seen a growth of 81%, turning over $100, 000 in its launch year 2001, and $13.4 mn in 2005, is now developing dynamic packaging and real time connectivity for eBay. The company predicts a $25 mn turnover in 2006.

Michael Hughes, Director Sales & Marketing International, Cultuzz told BTN: “Our goal is to have 10, 000 hotels by the end of this year. He added, “The EyeForTravel Conference has opened the door to travel wholesalers, airlines, car hire companies and cruise companies.”

“A commercial drive from the industry will be the next step on eBay,” says Hughes.

In coming months, eBay is planning to roll out new technology with calendar functionality that will enable users to check availability.