Published on Wednesday, January 6, 2016

French website launches in UK with aim of snatching business from tour operators


A French company that claims to be able to offer holidaymakers 20% savings on their accommodation and tours by connecting them directly with agents in 150 destinations around the world has launched its online platform in the UK.

Evaneos Travel, founded in France in 2009 and rolled out to Germany, Italy and Spain, has sold almost 100,000 trips in the past six years and has grown to become one of the top three companies offering tailormade tours in France.

The UK, where it launched late last year, is its fifth and largest market.

Chief executive Eric La Bonnardière said Evaneos Travel worked with destination management companies (DMCs)  who could put together tailormade itineraries for its customers via its website,

"Travellers can put together their own trips through their direct relationship with agents on the ground, so there is no need for them to book with a tour operator."

However, Bonnardière said he was keen to work with UK travel agents. "We are stripping out tour operators but there are advantages to working with travel agents," he said.

"We haven't approached any in the UK yet but we are very interested to do this because we know that agents in the UK are very strong, they offer value and they have good customers.

"There is a way for us to work together, we can connect them to the best DMCs around the world to put together individual tours for their customers."

He said the company worked with a lot of agents in France, but he said it wasn't possible to give the exact figure.

Bonnardière said the company's focus was selling multi-day tours, which are the most difficult for individuals to arrange on their own. "By connecting them directly to experts on the ground, we are making it possible for them to do this without the need of a tour operator," he added.

He said several hundred UK customers had booked with Evaneos prior to its launch here last November. The company is aiming for 'several thousand' bookings from the UK this year.

"We have doubled our bookings every year and we expect to continue to double our bookings every year," he added.


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