I just read a truly surprising piece of news over on the Travelmole website. Discount supermarket chain Aldi is planning to launch a UK travel website selling holidays. According to their spokesperson Sarah Butler:
“We have sold a
million holidays in Austria since we launched in 2003... We are not new to travel and we are
hoping to replicate the same success in the UK.”
She said the timing of the launch was perfect in the current economic climate.
looking for good deal and our motto is ‘A break you’ll remember at a
price you’ll love’. We are thriving in the credit crunch and our sales
are up 26%.”
OK. So I'd be the first to buy a cheaper can of beans or oven-ready pizza at ALDI, but a holiday? Seriously?
Maybe in Austria the company has some kind of brand presence, perhaps people associate them with no-nonsense, dependable value for money? But here in the UK I'd question why anyone would book a break with them? One of your biggest expenses of the year? Your precious time off? An untested new player that sells cheap groceries? Hmmm. Personally I don't think so.
The travel business is mega-competitive, margins at this end of the market are ultra-slim - I can't see ALDI getting the volume it needs to make this work commercially. There are plenty of sites out there offering cheap deals - particularly the price comparison sites. I fail to see how ALDI will be able to differentiate itself without spending an absolute truckload of cash.
The website - www.alditravel.co.uk - goes live on January 8th. (Even that I'd argue is too late - a lot of people will have booked their breaks in the first week of Jan.) I'll be watching with interest.