octopus travel
693 days ago
 

Farewell Octopus Travel – consumer brand axed as Kuoni focuses on B2B

No fanfare or redirecting to alternative places to book a hotel – Octopus Travel, a name synonymous with the early days of travel on the web for consumers, is no more.

The brand’s masters (now Kuoni, after its sale within the GTA business by Travelport in March 2011) closed the consumer-facing websites of Octopus last week, telling visitors that existing bookings would be honoured but that essentially it was the end of its B2C operations.

Reassuringly for consumers, Octopus says the move is the result of a strategic decision by Kuoni and not due to any financial difficulties.

A number of tour operating operations in Europe are also under scrutiny and expected to close shortly.

In terms of Octopus, with B2C services outside of the existing luxury tour operating division no longer of interest to Kuoni, the writing was always on the wall. Kuoni issued a statement in September this year stated it “various smaller loss-making tour operating businesses are no longer of strategic relevant to the group”.

The decision to close a number of such activities also included Octopus.

Much has changed in the world of GTA in the past 18 months, with a major re-branding exercise carried out earlier this month to concentrate on two distinct markets.

GTA is now being positioned as “the brand for fully independent travel (FIT)” whilst there is also a dedicated Kuoni Group Travel Experts division.

In a statement, Kuoni says:

“This announcement [re Octopus] has no impact on the FIT retail booking sites GTA, TravelCube, Travel Bound or Octopus Travel Retail in Australia/New Zealand, which operate within a different division (Kuoni Global Travel Services). It is business as usual for us.”

UPDATE:

The much-talked about deal with eBay, which Octopus signed with eBay in January 2010 (just ahead of the sale by Travelport), was “terminated” by Kuoni in early-2011.

 
 
Kevin May

About the Writer :: Kevin May

Kevin May is editor and a co-founder of Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution for nearly four years and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.

He has also worked in regional newspapers (Essex Enquirer) and started his career in journalism at the Police Gazette at New Scotland Yard in London. He has a degree in criminology and a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism.

 

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  1. Derek J

    Me also, I booked hotel a good few years with Octopus. Shame to see them go, I stumbled over this site, looks like someone trying to get hold of old Octopus customers. Webiste is called . not bad prices either

     
  2. Mary England

    First hotel I booked online was using Octopus. As far as I remember they powered the hotel booking system for certain low cost airlines. Its a pity as they seemd to have been around for as long as the Internet has been used for travel

     
  3. Dave

    Lotsofhotels is owned by Webjet whick is nothing to do with Kuoni, so I’m not sure I understand your point Hassan.

     
    • G

      Webjet was created and is owned by an ex GTA person buying from GTA and few others. They are expending fast tho under lotsofhotels and most of their staff are ex GTA too. The usual: small world.

       
  4. hassan

    It looks like they will will go live with http://www.lotsofhotels.com. so this is only the end of that channel bu name not the notorious business with undercut rates.

     
  5. Amy

    Hi, Thanks for this article, working in the hotel booking trade myself maybe I should already of known :-)
    It is a big big suprise to me, their site was straight forward and easy to use, on top of that some very low prices on occasion. I guess in the end that low price structure took its toll!

    Thanks again for this, now I must go and try to work out how to attract the 250,000 monthly visitors of octopus over to my site, yea yea, maybe a gin and tonic instead x

     
 
 

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