Holiday.com domain name sale could beat sex.com to be most expensive ever

Experts believe domain name could go for 'more than £21m'

A new giant of the travel industry could be born almost overnight this evening as the domain name holiday.com goes up for sale at an event in London.

Following in the footsteps of huge international businesses like booking.com and hotels.com, the live auction from 5.30pm will be expected to herald one of the most expensive domain name sales of all time.

The auction will be overseen by the company Breathe Luxury, which described holiday.com as “the Holy Grail for the travel industry” and said it easily had the potential to beat the record sale of sex.com for £8 million in 2010.

Repeated attempts have been made to buy holiday.com over the past 16 years, when it has been owned by a US company that, according to Breathe Luxury, has finally accepted it cannot afford the investment needed to turn it into a viable business.

Owning holiday.com would give any travel company a huge advantage attracting online customers, with the organisers claiming that more than 90 per cent of such businesses already use “holiday” across their sites as one of their top-five keywords.

Farad Laaforce, managing director of Breathe Luxury, told the Telegraph that taking part in the auction was “in these companies’ best interests because they will lose their market share once holiday.com goes live”.

Web hosting expert Richard Winslow told the Guardian that search engines would “value” a memorable, one-word keyword like “holiday” as a domain name.

But he warned that it was not as simple as just buying the site and watching the customers roll in. “You need to have a business plan and to be able to use the name and market it effectively,” he said.

If it does sell as well as is expected, holiday.com as a domain name on its own could outstrip the sales of insurance.com, vacationrentals.com which went for £21 million and privatejet.com, sold for £18 million – all of which included the transfer of ownership of a complete business.

According to Business Insider, sex.com still holds the Guinness World Record for the most expensive domain name-only sale – around £8 million in 2010.

Pre-auction bidding for holiday.com opened on Monday, while the main event will begin from 5.30pm at the World Travel Market exposition at London Excel.

And for those priced out of the holiday.com auction, other domain names on sale include include worldholiday.com, journey.com, crete.com, doha.com, as well as a host of “.tv” domains including france.tv, ireland.tv, and holiday.tv.

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