and CRM specialists Groupe Galeries Lafayette
via LaSer, a subsidiary of Groupe Galeries Lafayette, will launch a joint venture dedicated to online travel services in the second half of 2002.
The new company, equally owned by both parties, will establish a travel portal, targeted at consumers and small and medium-sized companies in France.
The portal will provide customers with the opportunity to purchase a wide range of International and French domestic travel products online and will offer additional travel services such as news, reports and destination information.
The online service will be supported by CMS Vacances, LaSer`s call center facility, which will provide a supplementary information service to help customers finalize their choice. Ultimately, the products and services will also be distributed via Galeries Lafayette`s travel agencies, so that customers can choose the appropriate service channel for their needs.
will bring its e-commerce travel technology and experience to the joint venture, providing e-commerce systems from its growing portfolio of Internet and mobile commerce solutions, consulting know-how and access to the Amadeus System. Amadeus is the world`s leading provider of online travel technology, powering over 2,500 travel portals and offering an unmatched range of online travel management solutions. “This deal forms part of our strategy in building partnerships with major brands and e-commerce solution providers around the world, such as Terra Lycos and BroadVision,” said Philippe Chérèque, Senior VP of Corporate Strategy for Amadeus. “Groupe Galeries Lafayette is a partner with unrivalled expertise in Customer Relationship Management which the joint venture will use to deliver a level of customer service that redefines how people use the Web to buy travel products.”
LaSer will provide its Customer Relationship Management expertise and develop the most advanced marketing strategies in order to strengthen and maintain customer loyalty. Groupe Galeries Lafayette is already involved in the travel business in other areas. Through Galfa Voyages, its travel agency network, and its call center, CMS Voyages, based at Merignac, the group sold EUR 46 million of travel products in 2001.
“We wanted to develop our experience within the tourism industry, and especially via the Internet. This alliance will enable us to offer complementary services to our clients and give the S`Miles` Internet department a leading edge. With the unique online mixed mode of payment in Euros and S`Miles, our customers will benefit from great deals in the e-tourism sector. This partnership with a leading travel industry player, already present in other European countries and offering value-added IT services, will allow us to further strengthen our position in the sector, ” declared André Bürgi, CEO of the new joint venture.
The French travel market offers a particularly strong opportunity for the new joint venture. According to a Comscore Networks survey published in January 2002, 94.3 million home Internet users visited travel websites, representing 30 per cent of all Internet users worldwide. In France, 2.5 million home Web users visited travel Web sites out of the existing 10.4 million Web users in that country (Netvalue, January 2002). The French online travel market is the 3rd largest in Europe after the UK and Germany.
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