Despite the waves of consolidation currently seizing the marketplace, Daryl Lee, director of WebBeds FZ – which owns B2B travel distributor Fit Ruums – thinks the landscape is still characterised by fragmentation and complexity while vast markets like China have hardly seen any penetration.
“We see Fit Ruums as an alternative to global players. There’s no true alternative to the big players, so we see ourselves as filling in the gap, not so much to disrupt but to connect the dots,” said Lee.
Lee: filling the gap rather than disrupting
“We still see a lot of demand for travel products and hotels, and for the travel trade to operate more efficiently… with our robust platform, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach of the big players,” he added.
Since launching in October 2016, Lee said Fit Ruums has been seeing a “quick buildup” from its initial core markets of Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan to now India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.
Also, it would be impossible for the Singapore-based Fit Ruums to ignore the “dynamic” growth potential that China presents as both an inbound and outbound market, as Fit Rumms now has its sights set on establishing a China office by 3Q2017 to tap the synergy of its partnership with Dida Travel Technology inked late last year.
Despite being the largest travel aggregator in China, Dida does not even have one per cent of the domestic market cornered, Lee pointed out, highlighting the immense room for development in the Chinese travel distribution space.
Fit Ruums’ data-driven approach to travel distribution will hence enable agents to better understand the workings and nuances of this fast-changing Chinese market, said Lee, especially as the Chinese are now showing an increasing preference for last-minute travel and taking more holidays frequently throughout the year than during the major holidays.
To highlight his point, Lee revealed that 30 per cent of Fit Ruums’ latest bookings from the Chinese market are for travel within the next 72 hours – and not just confined to domestic destinations but across Asia-Pacific.
Likewise, plenty of opportunities lie untapped for the inbound market into China, Lee opined, seeing room for growth for the bleisure sector as well as lesser-known provinces like Guizhou, Tibet and Inner Mongolia if information and accessibility improve.