Touring and adventure holiday aggregator TourHound went live yesterday, featuring 30 suppliers, 10 more than its launch target.
Speaking at the unveiling of the new site attended by key supplier partners, managing director Laurence Hicks said:
“We were expecting to have 20 on the site at launch but we’ve got 10 more than that, and the breadth of suppliers is fantastic.”
Hicks said there was a level playing field for all suppliers and “total integrity”.
“What’s brilliant is that TourHound gives smaller guys the opportunity to be seen alongside the bigger guys – and the key thing is there is total neutrality.
“No-one can pay to be a preferred supplier and we are taking no advertising on the site, so it’s pure natural search,” he said.
Explaining the model, Hicks said TourHound was “not an agent selling directly to the consumer”, but a price comparison site so consumers can search for the right tour or adventure holiday, using criteria like departure date, destination and holiday type.
The system features sliders allowing the customer to alter dates and prices to help find the perfect holiday.
“We will generate leads and then send them through to the partner operator in one of three ways – via a deep link into that operator’s booking engine so the customer can book online, to a call centre via a dedicated phone number that we give to each supplier, or via an email, containing all the customer’s details.”
Hicks said suppliers featured on the site could load content including images and inventory onto the aggregator via an API feed, but if they don’t have one, TourHound can work off an XML spreadsheet.
Suppliers will be given passwords to go in to upload and manage content, such as special offers.
Hicks said phase two of development would be making the system available to agents to use to help them find the right touring holidays for their customers, and then phase three would be licensing the platform to agents to white-label for their own websites.
Hicks said: “Touring and adventure is one of the fastest-growing sectors in travel currently and we want to capitalise on that by being at the heart of it – enabling touring and adventure holidays to be booked much more easily than is currently the case.
“At the moment, people – or agents – would have to trawl through endless brochures and websites trying to find the perfect tour or adventure holiday.
“TourHound will provide them with a quick way to identify and compare tours – with integrity.
“Look at how successful the insurance industry has been with search and price comparison. We think we can do the same for touring and adventure holidays.”
The site is available at www.tourhound.co.uk