UK travel and tour operator First Choice is hoping bookings at its newly acquired web-based hotels site will grow by more than a fifth this year.

As it seeks to move away from reliance on the tough package holiday market, First Choice bought the hotel booking site Laterooms.com for £108m. It may pay an additional £12m for the purchase, depending on Laterooms' performance.

Peter Long, chief executive at First Choice, said: "Operating in a high growth sector, we see considerable opportunity to increase Laterooms' future profitability even further.

"It has a distinct business model serving a niche market segment at low cost. This increased range of accommodation already available in the group will strengthen its position and give international scalability."

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