Dublin internet firm Web Reservations International has set itself an ambitious task: to revolutionise online travel and join the ranks of the internet giants. The company, founded in 1999 by technologist Ray Nolan and hostel owner Tom Kennedy, has spent several million euro developing a new travel search engine to be launched in January.

Nolan, the chief executive of WRI, describes the system as a ‘‘totally new experience online that goes back to the essence of online travel’’. He believes that the internet has made finding travel information and booking holidays more complicated for many people, instead of making it easier. Because most online travel companies have commission deals with certain hotels, travellers never get a full listing of all hotels and those they do get may not be the cheapest, or might not even be available.

WRI plans to solve that problem with a new service that lists every single accommodation provider in the world and allows travellers to quickly find and book their holiday.

He said that WRI did not compete with online travel firms such as Expedia and Travelocity, because it had a completely different business model that was not based on getting commission from hotels. Instead, the company makes its money by retaining the deposit paid online for the accommodation, ruling out the need for a credit relationship with individual accommodation providers.
‘‘We are more like eBay than Expedia, because we match buyers and sellers and take a little touch on the way through,’’ Nolan said.

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