Following its recent announcement of a three-year portal agreement to serve as the Pan-European e-commerce travel partner for the Lycos Bertelsmann web-based travel service, Leisureplanet today announced the launch of the Lycos Bertelsmann/Leisureplanet co-branded travel service in Germany and France.
This co-branded service will feature the full range of Leisureplanet’s Internet-based travel services, as well as exclusive travel services tailored to each market. Travellers using this comprehensive service will have access to low cost negotiated airfares, car rental and Leisureplanet’s image-rich hotel guide, featuring more than 38,000 hotels, 8,000 of which are independent establishments. The service is available in local languages and on-line customer service is available to support the travel booking process. Local partners will be used for ticketing fulfilment, additional customer service and the provision of travel deals unique to each market.
Pierre Kleinhans, Leisureplanet’s Chief Executive Officer said: “Leisureplanet’s service provides unique benefits for Lycos users. Our travel partners are leading local consolidators and wholesalers, giving travelers access to special negotiated air fares. These are travel deals that cannot be found through traditional flight reservation systems. ”
“Providing local travel services with comprehensive content and reservation capabilities was key to the development of the joint Lycos travel service. Leisureplanet offers a wealth of travel information including flights, travel guides on more than 180 destinations, and access to all the major car rental companies. Moreover, Leisureplanet fulfils the demand among European travellers for independent hotels by providing comprehensive information on all types of hotels worldwide, large and small,” Mr. Kleinhans said.
Tony Philipp, Chief Operating Officer of Lycos Bertelsmann GmbH & Co.KG, said: “The main reason we chose Leisureplanet to be our premier travel partner, was because of their strategy to offer travel services in most European countries. Lycos Bertelsmann already offers local content in local languages in 12 European countries. The travel services provided by Leisureplanet will allow Lycos to offer their users a unique European Internet travel experience. That means that if a user is searching the web from the Lycos site for more information about Mallorca, he/she will not only get great information about sites talking about Mallorca, but also real-time access to book their hotels (after looking at pictures of the hotel) and get cheap airline tickets, all this without leaving home.”
A number of entry points to the travel service are offered to Lycos users. Available as the travel e-commerce partner on the Home Page of Lycos, the travel service is also the premier on-line travel service in the travel web guide section of the site. To ensure maximum exposure to users, the site is also featured with search results including keyword searches related to travel.
Founded in 1995, Leisureplanet is an Internet-based international travel services company with the world’s largest image-rich hotel database; flight, car and hotel reservation facilities; and comprehensive proprietary travel guides for more than 180 travel destinations. Leisureplanet is committed to achieving leadership in global travel e-commerce through offering tailored services in European and other international markets. Operations include multi-lingual call center and customer support facilities, two electronic publishing units, an information system and web site development unit, a hotel recruitment center in addition to a local travel agency partner network.
Leisureplanet offers choice, competitive price and customer service. The company is in the process of deploying localized web sites supported by local customer service agents in European and other international markets. Each local web site will provide a comprehensive selection of competitively priced travel products for local consumers, presented in the local language.
Leisureplanet is 81%-owned by First South Africa Corp., Ltd. (Nasdaq: FSACF ), a publicly traded investment company whose holdings also include businesses in various industries, including value-added convenience foods and leisure products. First South Africa plans to seek shareholder approval to change its name to Leisureplanet Holdings Ltd. at its next Annual Meeting of Shareholders on April 29.