Ebookers.com is an online travel company based in the UK, and is the European brand of Orbitz Worldwide. It is a former wholly owned subsidiary of Travelport, itself the former travel arm of Cendant, which was bought in October 2006 by an affiliate of Blackstone Partners. Travelport split itself into three companies. The part of the business related to the B2C arm is called Orbitz Worldwide and was floated in the Nasdaq in July 2007.
Ebookers is a pan-European travel website specialising in the mid and long-haul travel arena, offering a wide and varying range of travel products including hotel reservations, flights, car hire and sports packages. It formerly operated main street travel agents in Ireland, closing its Dublin branch in 2006 and going internet-only.
At the time of Cendant's original acquisition (28 February 2005), Ebookers was valued at $350 million.
Ebookers was formed in 1999, by Dinesh Dhamija, but its origins go back almost 20 years. In 1983 Flightbookers Ltd was founded, a London-based travel agency with its main retail branches in Tottenham Court Road in London. Their most profitable retail outlet was based at Londons Gatwick Airport on the rail concourse until the Heathrow operation opened in 2004. It was reported by the CFO that the new high-performing Heathrow branch turned over a month's profit in one day thanks to the BA strike of 2004 under the leadership of its branch manager Peter Hensley. Flightbookers grew into one of the UK's biggest travel agencies and in 1996 established a website, the first interactive travel website in the UK. This was so successful that in 1999 the Internet arm was separated to form Ebookers and the new company taken public with a flotation on Nasdaq in New York and Germany's Neuer Markt. The $61 M raised at flotation was used to roll out Ebookers across Europe. In November 2000, Ebookers bought Flightbookers for $15 M, reuniting the two companies.
Ebookers had a platform revamp and a brand relaunch for the UK market in July 2007. Ebookers launched a travel news section in the UK, where news related to airlines, airports and popular destinations are updated daily.
- Official website
- Ebookers chief gets £92m from sale to Cendant - Guardian Unlimited, December 2004
- Ebookers snaps up Travelbag - BBC News, January 2001
- The Asian Advantage Dinesh Dhamija discusses setting up Ebookers